QLD Premier Rugby: Prinsloo hoping shorter preseason will help Jeeps return to the top in 2020

By Finn Morton; Photo – Brendan Hertel/QRU Media

GPS have begun preparing for a return to glory in 2020 with the Gallopers now three weeks into their official pre-season schedule at Yoku Road.

After breaking their premiership drought in 2018, Jeeps suffered back-to-back losses to eventual finalists Brothers and UQ in this year’s playoffs.

For some, that might be cause for concern.

But instead Jeeps will have a shorter pre-season than most other Premier Rugby sides.

Coach Elwee Prinsloo explained that there was definitely method behind the madness with his new approach to training and preparation ahead of next year.

“Everything goes well in preseason because you haven’t lost a game yet. Everyone reckons they’re going pretty well,” Prinsloo said jokingly.

“We’ve shortened our pre-season a little bit but we certainly upped the intensity in the load and slightly adapted our approach as far as what we do in the off-season.

“We’re three weeks done now, we do a five-week block pre-Christmas and so far so good, I’ve been pretty impressed with what the boys are delivering at the moment.”

“We’ve very much veered away from too much process. We’re a little bit more outcome-driven. For me there is no point in coaching all these processes when it’s really about the outcome. We’re very outcome-driven this off-season but it’ll obviously continue into the season too.

“Just changed a little bit of how we’ve approached our sessions and what we’ve been able to do is really increase the load in a very specific rugby format. A lot more scenario-driven stuff rather than drill originated.”

2019 captain Dan Gorman is one of only a few Premier Grade players to have left Yoku Road on the back of last season, but Prinsloo stills wants to keep developing his squad’s depth during preseason rather than when it counts.

“What we do is the lower grades train as a squad, so our seventh grade to third grade. Then we’ve selected a Premier Grade squad that really consists of Premier Grade players and second-grade players, and maybe a couple of really good colts or third-grade players that have the potential to creep into that program.

“A lot of players have played NRC, we’ve got some players in the Reds program and off-season contracts, some down at the Rebels, some down at the Reds, so it’s a real good opportunity at this time of year to focus on your depth.

“For us and I can’t speak for other clubs, but you need a squad of around thirty-six players to win a premiership.

“It gives you a really good opportunity to make sure that from a knowledge point of view, and from a physical preparation point of view, there’s a solid foundation for some of these blokes who you’ll be using throughout the year.”

Jeeps began last season with an Australian Club Championship victory against then Shute Shield champions Sydney Uni.

They carried this strong start into Premier Grade, leading defensive and set-piece stats throughout the regular season as they searched for back-to-back crowns.

After losing to Brothers in the major semi, they had to beat eventual champions UQ for a shot at redemption.

But Prinsloo suggested that there was definitely lessons learnt in that match after a few yellow cards caused a once one-point game to blow out to a commanding victory for the students.

“Funnily enough, if you speak to the players, none of them have watched that game, neither have I.

“We were down to twelve and that’s nothing towards the referee or anything, that’s the competition rules and so be it. It was unfortunate. But that type of stuff only happens once in a lifetime.

“We were forced to have Bryce Hegarty defend at eight. That stuff just doesn’t happen. We sort of felt that we missed a big opportunity against Brothers the week before when we lost with eight points there.”