Premier Rugby: Brothers confident they can go one better in shortened 2020 season

By Liz Moore

Brothers Director of Rugby Ryan Schultz said despite losing a number of players to the Reds, and one recruit back to Fiji, his Premier-grade team and the club as a whole are looking strong and consistent going into the shorter 2020 season. 

“There’s been a little bit of a change to the playing group,” Schultz said, referring to Ryan Smith, Josh Flook and Lawson Creighton’s move to the Reds, and Sireli Kacilala returning home to Fiji before Covid19 border restrictions tightened.   

“But thankfully we’ve been able to stay pretty consistent. 

“We’re confident in regards to what we’re going to be doing in preparation for the upcoming competition, but also really confident in the playing depth we have at the club.

“A lot of our guys have stayed around and stayed active and are really, really excited for the season.

“I’m really excited because I think the new season’s going to be challenging for everyone.

“Because it’s only one round that means there’s a really big emphasis on preparing well during this pre-season 2.0,” he said.

“I would be confident we can come out and perform as we have in the last couple of years throughout the grades.”

Whilst Schultz didn’t see any changes to how Brothers will perform despite the delays to the season, he believed the one-round competition could potentially be beneficial to some other sides.

“I think UQ and GPS and ourselves are going to be the heavyweights of the competition again.

“But I also think the one round has provided opportunities for all clubs, especially those like Bond and Easts, to really prepare well and give themselves a real good opportunity to play strong footy and even press for the title, which makes it pretty exciting.”

The Brothers Director of Rugby said his club had coped well with the delayed start to the season, offering different initiatives to all players across the club.

“It was a bit of a shock to the system to get to round one as prepared as possible, then basically everyone was stuck at home.

“From a club perspective, we tried to let people be in a way, whilst trying to support them with a few little initiatives.

“Ensuring our mental health program that was already existing, was up and running. 

“That became a bit of a focus during that time, and just making sure the communication was pretty consistent to our playing group.

“We were more just touching base with them, and making sure they knew there’s a support network there in place so anyone who needed that could reach out.

“Then as time went by, we just tried to stay engaged as much as possible with the playing group.

“Doing simple things like sharing playing highlights from years before.” Something Schultz started for ‘Motivation Mondays’.

“Then our leaders within the playing group took it upon themselves to start a few little initiatives like weekly challenges and weekly Zoom beers, where they get online and have a couple of beers together on the weekends. 

“We didn’t try and jam rugby down their throats, I guess, we just tried to stay active as much as we can and offer a support network and a community that they can still rely upon as well.”

Schultz said their comprehensive strength and conditioning programs continued across the club.

“Our head of athletic performance, Jonathon Roussetos, provided programs to basically everyone in the club.  

“So whatever our first grade program were receiving, we modified it to make sure that everyone had access to it.”

After the club got more information regarding a return to play, Schultz said they “ramped things up”.

“Three or four weeks ago we would have had close to 90 players from our senior playing group do a self-tested 1200-metre Bronco test, then from that they all got individualised conditioning programs along with injury prevention programs that they could then work at at the club. 

“We have the fields marked out so they could come along and do their running whilst social distancing. 

“It was all very individual based so they had to come along and do it on their own, but I think having that number of players keen and committed to staying fit will hopefully put us in a really good position as we start back training this week.”