Leeds Rhinos: ‘Forced recovery’ the order of the day after last night’s battles – Ablett

Carl Ablett.

Carl Ablett.

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I AM writing this before last night’s game at Castleford so I can’t comment on that. But one thing I can say is there will have been 34 players feeling pretty bruised and battered this morning.

Games against Cas are always tough and physical and it usually takes three days to get over the bumps and knocks.

Normally that gives you a bit of time to focus on preparing for the next match, but at this time of year it is a case of play, recover, play.

This morning we will be in for recovery. We’ll be having an ice bath and massage and a video session to review last night’s game.

Tomorrow will be a day off and then we will have a field session on Sunday and we play Wakefield on Monday afternoon.

At this time of year there’s more focus on recovery than anything else.

You have to make sure you eat and drink the right things and you tick all the boxes to ensure you are in the best-possible shape.

As players we love the game and we all want to get out on the pitch, but as the game progresses and gets faster and people are getting stronger and fitter, the demands on your body increase.

I am not complaining, we all know Easter is coming and most of us have been through this before, but it’s a fact – after you have played on Thursday or Friday you are not going to be fully recovered by Monday.

Some players are only going to be at 60, 70 or 80 per cent, but it is part of the game and we go out and do the best we can.

The good thing is everyone is in the same boat.

It’s not actually the Easter Monday game which is the toughest. The third game over the Easter period is usually the one when you start to feel the strain.

It is a cumulative effect. You can get through Monday on adrenalin, but we have got a game the Friday after that and that’s when your energy levels start to run low.

It is a challenge, but, as players, we enjoy challenges. For coaches it’s all about striking a balance between recovery and preparation and trying to keep players as fit and fresh as possible.

It is a big advantage at this time of year if you can rotate and give players a rest if they need one.

Hopefully we didn’t get any new injuries last night and we got a couple of players back.

That will help us because it’s the teams with the fewest injuries at this time of year who will come out on top.

It is an important time of year with six points up for grabs in the space of a week.

And, if you can get two – or ideally three – wins it can make a big difference to where you are sitting in the table.

If I was in charge of things, I would probably change the fixture list so teams play only once over Easter. There’s six games per round, so you could have one game on the Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday and maybe two on Saturday, kicking off at different times.

Then Sky could televise the entire round if they wanted to and it would not be so much of a strain on players.

The games do become less intense over Easter and that’s not what anybody wants to see.

But, having said that, I understand clubs all want a home match.

We are in the entertainment business after all, and it’s an exciting period for fans.

People can finish work on the Thursday, go to a game and then get another one in on Easter Monday.

That will be a big family day out and it’s always a good occasion, so I can see both sides of the argument.

Keith Galloway.

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