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OPINION: Timana Tahu talks about the unavoidable 'fatigue period' post-Origin.
By
Timana Tahu

Source:
Over the Black Dot
3 Jul 2019 - 5:10 PM  UPDATED 3 Jul 2019 - 5:10 PM

Both sides have been named for the State of Origin decider next week and as we enter the final bye-round in the NRL, fatigue through this period is real. 

Because of the burnout of playing and the amount of energy you put into preparing for the series and other rep football. If you have to play twice in one week, teams and coaches would ideally like players on the field the following night — because once you leave it for a few days and get to Saturday or Sunday, your body is so sore trying to recover from playing on the Wednesday.

It’s to be expected in professional athleticism, but there's no denying that these today's players are under so much pressure to continue to perform for their club, even off the back of an intense match.

It’s just a part of playing at an elite level and it’s what sets the best players apart, and continuing to perform comes down to a mostly mental state.

You’re constantly sore and the clubs are trying to manage players day by day, limit the training and try and get the recovery systems in.

It starts to feel like a bit of a Groundhog Day; you turn up to training and you’re doing the same thing. Then you turn up to a game and it all feels the same.

It’s not just limited to the professionals though, and this time of year can be a plateau in any competition, across any sport. Whatever level you’re playing, you might be dealing with a few niggly injuries or you’re a bit banged up and feeling a bit of fatigue.

It starts to feel like a bit of a Groundhog Day; you turn up to training and you’re doing the same thing. Then you turn up to a game and it all feels the same.

But don’t lose focus because finals are around the corner and that’s when everyone starts to pick it back up again. People start healing a little better and the mind can freshen up and recovery can improve.

Just keep trying to do the right things. Recovery is so important and so is putting the right foods in your body. It’s important to eat well and get advice from a trainer or a physio. And my advice? Get on top of your injuries too, because sometimes a small injury can turn into a very big one.

One team in the NRL who seems to manage this period incredibly well is the Melbourne Storm. So it’s no surprise to see them three games clear on top of the ladder.

They’re just a great unit and don’t need to use too many players. So many clubs keep bringing players in and out, for a variety of reasons, but the Melbourne Storm clearly have a really good system going on, not only at the moment but have done so for the past decade.

They’re so well placed at the moment, they’ve consolidated their position at the top, even with the absence of several players on Origin duty.

The back-ups they’ve got just keep doing the job and it’s amazing how Craig Bellamy is able to find these players and have them all doing their part.

Making two or three tackles in a row or breaking the line multiple times as an individual — that’s the sort of thing you’ve got to do to beat the Storm.

With teams like the Melbourne Storm, you can’t just turn up and expect to play a safe game; complete your sets and go from there and limit your mistakes. You’ve got to double and triple your efforts as an individual.

Making two or three tackles in a row or breaking the line multiple times as an individual — that’s the sort of thing you’ve got to do to beat the Storm. You’ve got to bring you’re A-game and it’s always a different game when you play the Storm.

Melbourne love being in the grind of a game and going set for set, so teams can slip into that and think they can just try and grind it out. But it’s those double and triple efforts and producing something special, on top of doing all of the fundamentals, that you need to beat the Storm.

 

Timana Tahu is a former rugby league, rugby union player and dual international, husband, father and a vegan advocate and panellist for NITV's Over the Black Dot

Over The Black Dot airs Tuesdays, 8.30pm on NITV (Ch. 34). 

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