Tom Flegler is driven to get the most out of his first Dolphins’ preseason, with a top-eight finish and Origin and Kangaroos jerseys firmly in his sights for the year ahead.
He officially joined the squad this week, speaking to the media this morning.
It followed a gruelling contact session and strength and conditioning work which pushed players to their limits in the humidity.
With just over four weeks until the side’s first trial game in Rockhampton against the Capras (February 10, 7.10pm AEST), the intensity has definitely shifted up a gear.
See the training photo gallery at the end of this story
“It’s good to be back into training … new club. I started yesterday, did a bit of testing. Today definitely wasn’t easy, to say the least, but it’s a good way to start off the new year with a nice, hard session like that,” Flegler said.
His move from Red Hill to Redcliffe and the Broncos, with whom he made his NRL debut in 2019, is a test he said he’s ready for.
“It’s an opportunity and it’s a big challenge for me too. That’s the reason why I came here. First things first, is to get stuck into preseason and try to build some good relationships with some of the boys here,” Flegler said.
He said the chance to play alongside the Bromwich brothers and Felise Kaufusi – players he has looked up to – was a big factor in his decision to make the move.
“Just the experience we’ve got in the forward pack … to learn off boys like that … it’s not easily done. Not every forward pack has players like that with the experience they have. That was probably the biggest thing that got me over the line,” Flegler said.
Being told by Head Coach Wayne Bennett, ‘Tom, we want you’ was also hard to refuse.
“His resume speaks for itself. He’s probably the greatest coach in the game. To be able to come here and get a year under him and learn off him for a year will be outstanding for me.”
Flegler said there hadn’t been an opportunity to hear what the Super Coach expected from him just yet.
“I sort of only spoke to him today. Yesterday, we didn’t really get to say much to each other. First things first is preseason. If we don’t get this part of the season right, then we’ve lost the game before we’ve even started,” he said.
“All the boys are training really hard at the moment and we’ve got a month before the trial games start, so our focus is on the next month.”
As for Flegler, his goals are pretty clear.
“I guess the same as last year. I came here to get a bit more experience and not try to change my game or anything. I’ve got to where I am from playing my game … I look forward to keep doing that and just adding a few adjustments and hopefully punch out a few more minutes,” he said.
Continuing to play disciplined footy to avoid the ire of referees and suspension was also a high priority.
He believes the Dolphins are a club which can go all the way and achieve something special.
“It’s somewhere you want to strive to get to every year. Obviously last year we (the Dolphins) didn’t have many expectations. I wasn’t here but we’ve established ourselves this year and we want to be a top-eight team,” Flegler said.
“Obviously, the Grand Final is the ultimate goal but we’ve got to take baby steps to get there and a top-eight finish is our first goal.
“Everyone here is pretty down to Earth, no one’s better than each other here. It’s a great culture here … when it’s time to work, we work and when it’s time to have some fun, we go have some fun. The boys are great to be around. We’ve got some larrikins in the squad. It’s a lovely place to come to work.”
There will be no question of loyalty when it comes time to face his old Broncos teammates in round six at Suncorp Stadium for the first Battle for Brisbane.
“It’s a friendly rivalry. It’s always good coming up against an old club, not that I’ve done it yet but I’m sure it will be. Big game, big crowd … there’s no hard feelings there, just mates playing footy.
“I’ve just decided to take a different route to get to where I want to go to.”
See the training photo gallery
Photos by Dominika Lis
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