This is how Canterbury turned their big men into fit men.
Renowned for their monster forward pack in recent seasons, the Bulldogs’ engine room turned a few heads with streamlined figures in their season-opening 28-6 NRL win over Manly on Friday night.
The NRL’s reduced interchange, as well as the introduction of a shot clock for scrums and line dropouts was designed to bring both fatigue, and the little men, back into the game.
But Bulldogs coach Des Hasler, ever the innovator, put his big boys back into the spotlight.
“Every club would’ve done more running this year, but it’s the type of running,” centre Josh Morris said on Triple M.
“We did a lot of high-intensity short bursts, but then we also had limited recovery as well to try and have that shot clock type of environment where we were getting less rest and we were able to still have maximum effort.”
Giant human Sam Kasiano strutted around at 126 kilograms – 13 less than the 139kg he was last year, while Tony Williams and Greg Eastwood also boasted slimmer figures.
Morris said the gruelling sessions helped their forward pack on Friday night and credited the coaches for preparing them to adapt to the new rules.
“The HPU staff did a wonderful job with the blokes like Sam Kasiano, Greg Eastwood, Tony Williams. You can see last night the way they were moving around the park. They looked really sharp, they’re good signs moving forward,” he said.
The dominance of their forward pack helped open up the flanks for Morris to create history by scoring his 100th try and joining injured twin Brett as the only brothers in history to reach the milestone.
And Brett left the perfect congratulatory message for Josh after the game.
“Brett sent me a text message saying, ‘about time’. He’s been waiting for me to cross for a while now,” Josh said.