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Ready for the hard slog

Posted: 2pm 24 Nov 2020

The hard work has started for this year’s Dolphins Intrust Super Cup squad, with preseason training underway after COVID-19 robbed them on a season that had so much promise.

Coach Adam Mogg spoke with Moreton Daily ahead of the squad’s second training session about how the things are looking after session one and such a long break from footy.

“I was really happy with the boys, they’re in reasonable shape considering they haven’t played much footy over the last almost a year,” Mogg said.

“We’ve got plenty of time before round one. I think we’ve got 17 sessions left before round one and 22 after the break. We’ll get enough work into the guys and they’ll be ready in round one I’m sure.

“Essentially, preseason is a combination of obviously getting fit and strong – the challenge at our level is we’ve got to add skill work into that, teamwork, fitness and strength.”

Mogg said this had to be balanced with players’ day jobs.

“That balance, I feel, our staff do it really well. I’m really confident we’ll get our loads right and our management right of those disciplines to make sure those players have enough work in their bodies to reduce the risk of injury and to be able to perform.”

Squad’s shaping up

The club is still signing players – working within its salary cap, with the Vodafone Warriors and its affiliate clubs. Some of last season’s squad, which offered so much promise, has been secured for 2021.

“We haven’t signed all of them. The last preseason was certainly our best preseason as a club, since I’ve been here both in terms of the talent – we had a small squad and the players just enjoyed training. We were able to progress really quickly,” Mogg said.

“Because of having a good squad … we’ve got a salary cap … other clubs have seen opportunities, with our affiliation with the Warriors, to offer players opportunities. Unfortunately, we can’t keep them all and that’s the idea of salary caps, that’s how they work.

“At the moment, we’ve got a small squad, we’ve got a few affiliation players with the Pine Rivers Bears and Brighton Roosters training with us, but we haven’t finished signing players. Given the environment with COVID and the NRL and salary caps at that level, I want to make sure that when we sign someone going forward they’re the right person to suit our footy club and we’re in no hurry to do so.”

Players to watch

When asked to identify a couple of exciting prospects, already locked in, Mogg mentions two who are already in preseason with the Warriors.

“I’m excited to see Jayden Nikorima play some football. He’s really turned his life around and he’s at the Warriors doing a preseason over there and I think if he gets through a really good preseason, unscathed, he’ll set himself up for a really good year,” he said.

“I think there’s a lot of people in the football world wanting to see that. I think Jayden himself wants to see that. He’s done a terrific job with himself away from football, with a gentleman called Glenn Azar he works with.

“I’m (also) excited to see Nathan Watts play. He’ll do a preseason at the Warriors. Nathan, in my opinion, has been one of the best props in the competition for several years and it will be good to see him have an NRL preseason and how much he can improve.”

Genuine pathway for players

Mogg said the relationship with the Warriors was not only good for the Dolphins, but the whole Intrust Super Cup competition.

“You’ve seen that just by the players we’ve lost to go to other clubs. It definitely helps other clubs as well. I also think, having coached over there in the NRL myself and understanding how passionate the Kiwis are about rugby league, it will be good for other clubs when we travel. There will be more Kiwi supporters at all the games, which is exciting.”

Mogg said he was proud of the affiliation with the Warriors because it was a genuine pathway for players.

“Peter O’Sullivan has been great to work with. He does their recruitment and talk about juniors coming into the system … it’s great for them in that sense as well, not just bringing Intrust Super Cup players and players back from NRL to play,” Mogg said.

“They’ve been fantastic, very transparent with their recruitment. They’ve been helping us with our recruitment, so it benefits the NRL but also us as a footy club. More importantly I think the guys who want to play NRL, genuinely want to play NRL – not just like the idea, this is a great opportunity for them.”

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