Academy Continue To Share Best Practice

Saints Academy Coaching staff have been sharing best practice with their peers in the NRL and AFL.

Recently, they visited with South Sydney Rabbitohs and Ben Roberts who is the club’s List Manager.

He has a wealth of experience in recruitment and development, having worked with the AFL in western Sydney as well as at Wests Tigers and Parramatta in the NRL.

With Ben we discussed the Souths initial recruitment, but importantly the personal development system used when players are welcomed into their club as a ‘black rabbit’ and how they progress to become a fully integrated ‘white rabbit’ to become a member of the NRL squad.

Alongside their physical development, all players are expected to research and take ownership of their knowledge of the Souths club, playing heritage, and expected standards of performance that align to the historic club.

Their training philosophy combines very high intensity with large strands of sports science that both support and monitor the players’ workloads.

Player and person wellbeing is supported through psychologists and various other lifestyle support staff.

Craig Richards, Saints Coaching and Education Manager, said: “It’s was great to see similarities in our systems but also gain ideas that can enhance the way we think and work. The systems that Ben and his coaches have in place are truly world class and I really appreciate him sharing so much with us of what they do.

“Although impressed with the functionality of their facilities, it was the strong core values that they live by as a group that shone through, their history of success is displayed everywhere as a constant reminder and driver of expectations.”

We would like to thank Blake Solly, Craig and all the Souths’ staff for their support and hospitality.

It was then on to the former club of our current head coach Justin Holbrook, where we were lucky enough to spend time with Craig Walker, the Player Development and Pathway Manager for the Sydney Roosters and Blake Cavallaro from the NRL junior development programme linked to the Roosters.

Here we got a different mindset to development that possibly mirrors very similar challenges we face with other sporting bodies vying for the same athlete participants.

Big thanks to the Roosters – again we felt that we can learn valued lessons and enhance how we approach and manage these similarities.

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