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Parramatta Eels prop Tim Mannah, who has clocked up more than 200 appearances in the NRL since making his first-grade debut back in 2009, takes us through how prop forwards keep backing up week after week, sharing what it takes to compete consistently in one of the toughest positions on the rugby league field.
OLDER AND WISER
“My attitude towards training and recovery has definitely changed as I have gotten deeper into my career. Just like anyone with age, as a professional athlete you start to realise how much more you have to look after your body. Around the ages of 26-27, it sinks in that you have to start giving your body a bit of extra attention, or else you’re not going to get those same results you always have.
“In recent seasons, I’ve done a lot of extra work which I probably wouldn’t have done in the first half of my career. Don’t get me wrong – as a younger player I would always be up for doing extra work; I was never the most talented player. But now I’m a lot more intent on making improvements to my body and working on it to make sure I can be the best I can be.”
GAME VS TRAINING
“Obviously, the game itself is the biggest workout we’ll get during the week. But in saying that, some of the off-season sessions are tougher than some of the games. They can get really physical. Every day is different for us; we cover a lot of different aspects through the week, whether it’s speed work, power stuff in the gym, video analysis … We do a lot of work around the wrestle: this is more about situational-type stuff, to be honest. It’s all about the best situation to be in and how to best use your body to slow down the ruck.”
“Usually you’re the most sore you’ll get two days after a game. Then you’ll find that after the third day, you’ll start to recover and gradually become ready to go again. It’s more about recovering from the pain than lactic acid. A lot of players don’t sleep too well the night of a game; your body is full of adrenaline.”