Week five of pre-season training has been much quieter than usual for the nib Newcastle Knights, as they prepare for the hard run before Christmas break.
Physical Performance Manager Tony Ayoub again sat down with Knights TV for an update on where they’re at.
“Week five is our down week,” Ayoub said.
“Given we’ve gone harder at the boys in the last few weeks, we have just shortened the lessons up and gave some of our older blokes a little bit more time off their feet.
“We are trying to freshen everyone up and then we’ll go hard at them in the next three weeks prior to Christmas.”
This week also saw the inclusion of Dylan Phythian to the full train on squad after a long recovery from injury.
“Today was his first run outside and it was exciting for him,” explained Ayoub.
“All the boys were excited to see him, they haven’t had him since March last year.
“He had a long process with some of the complications with the revision of an ACL reconstruction but it was great to see him out there.
“He has been training hard indoors, the strength in his legs and the definition is way ahead of where we thought he would be at this stage, hence getting him out there a little bit earlier to run.
“From here on in, we will get him out there at least twice a week for a couple of weeks and keep ramping it up as we go.”
Arriving at the Club a couple of weeks ago, Ayoub maintains Tautau Moga is tracking positively.
“He is coming off the back of a shoulder reconstruction and we couldn’t be happier,” he added.
“He has just grit his teeth and hung on, in terms of some of the conditioning stuff, and has jumped in with the boys today for the first time and actually did some conditioning that the main boys have been doing.
“He has been training with Jack Johns coming off a fractured forearm and with Mitch Barnett and Daniel Saifiti, they’ve both had shoulder reconstructions, so the four of them have been close over the last few weeks.
“Tautau is a big fella and for someone who is that big, he trains well and he loves the hard stuff and wants more.
“With his experience, he’s just a good fella to have out there, he talks to the boys all the time so he’s well ahead of where he needs to be and we’ve just got to temper his enthusiasm at the moment.”
This week the players have started to get a taste of summer with the weather slowly warming up but Ayoub said they make sure they’re ready for the conditions.
“You have to be careful to manage it and make sure they’ve got plenty of hydration,” explained Ayoub.
“We do some hydration testing before they go out on the field and anyone who is flagged with not being hydrated, they have got a two-hour window from the time they come in.
“For us the heat helps our conditioning, puts us in good stead for the start of the season but we have still got plans in place, it just means we get more breaks for water.
And although new recruit and veteran forward Chris Heighington is still at the World Cup, set to play for England in the final against Australia on Saturday, it’s likely he will arrive at the Club soon.
“He has been in contact with the Club and actually wants to come back first thing Monday morning which is a real nobel thing to do,” Ayoub stated.
“From a performance perspective, we just want to make sure we are not overloading him because he’s come out of a long tournament after a long season.
“The plan was for him to start after Christmas but from his own words, he wants to come back next week so he will probably come in and do something."