How do the Dyldam Parramatta Eels modify pre-season training to maximise fitness for players recovering from surgery?
At the Blue and Gold, prop Danny Wicks, lock Anthony Watmough and hooker Nathan Peats are working through rehabilitation programs after undergoing surgery during 2015, requiring three modified training schedules as the trio prepare for 2016.
Both Watmough and Wicks underwent shoulder surgery, with 'Choc' also requiring a knee procedure that saw him miss the end of the season.
"They’ve been like best mates, those two, in the shoulder rehab club," Head of Physical Performance Paul Devlin said.
"They’re both progressing really well: Danny's back running with the squad and running really well; he’s a very good athlete."
"'Choc' has really built up his running in the last week and we hope to get him back with the team soon."
"It’s a tricky business [managing conditioning alongside rehabilitation], obviously because you’re restricted by the physio team and what we can do."
"Really we try to get them back to running as quickly as we can and then get them back into team-based, footy skill-based activities as quickly as we can to integrate them."
For Nathan Peats, a fracture to the C6 vertebra necessitated neck surgery, and Devlin describes the dummy-half's attitude to injury rehabilitation has been faultless.
"He’s an absolutely outstanding trainer, he’s been very diligent with his rehab as he always is, and they’ve all been very good with their conditioning," Devlin said.
"We’re pretty big on accountability here, so we’re lucky we’ve got some very, very good staff and also some fantastic young guys who’ve been helping us out this year with the NRL squad."
"That helps us provide the players with accountability, so that any time they do a session we measure it, we track their progress and we make sure they’re getting better every time they do something."
"So it’s not just mindless flogging every day: we make sure that we’re tracking their progress and programming accordingly."
See more of the Blue and Gold squad in action from the first five weeks of the Eels' Pre-Season: