RICHARD Agar believes rugby league players may have to sacrifice lead-in time to get the game going again – even if it means they are not truly ready for a ‘whirlwind.’
Much talk surrounds whether clubs will get a ‘pre-season’ to get stars in condition for the hard hits and the intense schedule that looks inevitable.
Salford’s Ian Watson feels one is necessary, Toronto’s Brian McDermott feels there will not be one at all while Leeds boss Agar feels clubs will get two weeks, whether that is enough or not.
He said: “I don’t think we’re going to get the luxury of a month, I just don’t.
“We need to get the game back up and running as soon as we can. If that means we’ve got two weeks to prepare, we’ll go to the people we have to make sure it’s going to be easier.
“People will throw welfare at it but welfare comes in different guises.
“I’m anticipating we’ll get a lead-in of two weeks. We’d do our best to prepare the players and get ready and we may well be a bit underdone for the first couple of weeks.
“If we do get back up and running and we’re going to play until November or December, we’ve got to be mindful of the fact we’re going to play midweek games and have a shorter off-season, so we’ve got to be wary we’re not doing things just for doing them’s sake.
“When we do get back into the season, it’s going to be intense and take a fair bit out of us – so the message is, ‘Keep yourself occupied but get ready as when it starts again, it’s going to be a whirlwind.’”
Agar summed up his activities as a coach in one word – nothing – but do not think he is just wasting away in front of the TV.
He is an ultra-keen reader and is using the extra time on his hands to pick up things that could make him even better when the game returns.
He added: “It’s a bit like pre-season. It’s a case of keeping yourself mentally refreshed but also investing in yourself.
“I read loads – although I’ve just started a new book and don’t want to shoot my bolt too early – and I’ll listen to podcasts from say another coach about leadership – just living out of the normal.
“When the season is on, there’s not as much time to listen to things and I spend a lot of time watching film. It’s very different in the off-season, when I’m flying anywhere I’ll listen to something.”
One thing this shutdown is not is a holiday. There is still plenty of training going on, with Leeds’ strength and conditioning chief Chris Black leading the way via a WhatsApp group.
Not that Agar would know as he is not in it!
He told SunSport: “We’re posting training sessions to them via a WhatsApp group but I’m not even in it. I don’t know whether I should be upset or of that’s a good thing!
“I manage sessions with a bench or doing body weight exercises. My neighbour also does sessions at the same time. First thing in the morning, he’s in his garden and I’m in mine.”