The South Sydney Rabbitohs have jetted off for the United States, in one of the biggest pre-season camps the Club has undertaken in its 107 year history.
The Rabbitohs flew out this morning (Sunday) to Los Angeles, before switching planes to head to Las Vegas where they will board buses for the drive to Flagstaff, Arizona, where 25 players and coaching will undergo an intense, 18-day, high altitude training camp at the world renowned Grand Canyon.
The players and coaches will get benefits of training at high altitude over the 18 days with long hikes and runs the order of the trip, up and the trails and cliff faces of the Canyon.
Head Coach Michael Maguire was all smiles at Sydney Airport this morning, looking forward to the step forward the Club is about to take in its efforts to defend the 2014 Premiership.
“It’s the first step of our pre-season,” Maguire explained.
“We get to go over and get a lot of work into the boys and we’ve got a number of new guys coming into the squad, and a few young boys, so it’s an opportunity to get together and spend some quality time looking at what we want to do throughout this pre-season.”
Maguire laughed when asked whether there would be much fitness work done during the camp.
“Yeah there will be a bit of that!” he joked.
“That’s the whole side of the altitude training, the benefits you get while we’re over there, and I think just the fact that we’ve got them all there in a centralised area and do some real quality training, it just gives us a really great start to the pre-season.
“The Club’s been great. They’ve got in behind the fact that we’re trying to find ways to get better as a team and it’s all about the improvement in us as a group.”
Maguire said this will be fact finding mission about his crew of players, as much as it will be about hitting certain fitness targets when the team returns home in early December.
“We’ve got a fair idea (about the targets players should reach) but as I said we’ve got a number of new guys so it’s also to get to know where they’re at after their pre-season camp,” Maguire said.
“It’s been good actually as they’ve come back in pretty good shape the boys, so to be able to start further ahead than where you intend to at these times, it’s a great opportunity for us to prepare and build on what we’ve been doing.”
Maguire said it will also be a great chance for the team to bond, something which was evident throughout the team’s charge to the Premiership last season.
“Yeah it will be,” Maguire said of players getting to know each other.
“We had our proper ‘day one’ yesterday with a number of the boys and we’re on the plane the next day.
“The three boys that went across last year in Dylan Walker, Luke Keary and Adam Reynolds, we saw the benefits off the back of going overseas, as you saw how they played throughout the season, and I think it added to everything that’s gone on in the previous season for them and the whole group off the back of that.
“It’s an exciting step forward for us and we’re looking forward to getting stuck into some hard work and growing as a group.”
The Rabbitohs will have regular updates from the team in Arizona, here at www.rabbitohs.com.au.