Force kick off with 2009 Super 14 training


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It was back to work today for the Emirates Western Force as 2009 pre-season training kicked off at Rugby Park.

Squad members assembled at the team’s headquarters at Perry Lakes this morning to begin preparations for the 2009 Investec Super 14 season.

The training squad, minus the team’s seven Wallabies representatives, began the day with medical, nutritional and strength & conditioning screening before taking to the field for running tests.

‘First day back it’s always very tough and it was no different today,’ said fourth-year prop AJ Whalley (pictured).

‘The beep test really hurt actually, I must admit, but we’ve all just come back from our annual leave and everyone is really refreshed and excited about being back together and back into training,’ he said.

Having completed a five-match development tour of England on September 1, the Perth-based team is the first of the Australian Super 14 outfits to report for 2009 pre-season training.

Coach John Mitchell said players would be rewarded if they come through today’s preliminary testing.

‘We’ll have the results (of testing) tomorrow and if they are positive then those players will be rewarded and trusted to carry on (with conditioning) on their own accord,’ said Mitchell.

‘Other’s will be required to shift physically over the next eight weeks.’

With the team’s seven Wallaby tourists not due to join their Super 14 teammates in Perth until mid-January, Mitchell said the first two months of training would offer players a chance to focus on individual goals.

‘We’ve taken a totally different approach to pre-season this year, starting with today’s testing, which will give us an important basis from which to move forward,’ he said.

‘Essentially we’re not a team at all at the moment. We’re not worried about the numbers on (player’s) backs. It’s more about how they front today and getting them to focus on where they can improve physically as individuals over the next eight weeks.’

Among the activities in week one of pre-season training is a sand hills session at Scarborough on Friday, following a tough conditioning session at King’s Park tomorrow morning.

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