Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks lifted their first-ever premiership trophy in 2016. Some say on the back of the game smarts of five-eighth James Maloney, the toughness and leadership of veteran Paul Gallen and the longevity of the ultra-reliant Luke Lewis. But an equally important component to the Shire Boys' success along the way has been Andrew Gray. Inside Sport spoke to the Sharks Physical Performance Manager.
"As soon as the fulltime siren goes, hopefully our first action is to celebrate and thank our members and fans. When the players enter the dressing sheds, our first priorities are an immediate medical assessment of our injured players - immediate first-aid treatment for those players - and activating the first level of our supplementation and nutrition-based recovery. The coach will then address the players. Hopefully he's rewarding some outstanding performances from some players. He'll discuss what we did very well and will then usually discuss where we need to be better going forward So it's a mixture of hopefully celebrating the success we've just had, and quickly moving on to get our focus moving forward.
The Sharks have really strong ties with our local community in the Shire. So usually immediately after the coach's speech, we're singing the team song and celebrating with some VIPs, some of our members and the rest f our staff. The dressing room sheds can be a pretty busy place for those 10-15 minutes.";
Assessing the Damage
"The next stage is the second of our recovery stages. This will involve players who need more in-depth medical assessment. We'll definitely move on to the second stage of nutrition, with some food and hydration and supplementation taken in. Players will have some contrast therapy: hot and cold baths, put some compression garments on at that point, possibly an hour and a half after the full time whistle, we'll all get together and have a bit of a chat about what's next. That may be heading home to bed if several times each year especially after home games to mix with family, friends, sponsors and the rest of the staff.
There are media commitments in amongst all of this for the coach and a few players. So really, it's quite a long time post-whistle before everybody finally gets to drop their shoulders and relax, then its home to bed. Sleep often becomes a really big priority, especially in a short week. Our working weeks, however short or long, often involve hefty travel demands.";