AFL clubs missing out on camps: Robinson

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson says challenging pre-season camps in the wild would benefit AFL clubs.

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson says some AFL clubs are missing out on sharing uncomfortable but valuable moments by not going on more challenging pre-season camps.

Robinson took his back-to-back NRL premiers on a gruelling four-day camp involving demanding physical and mental tests in Queenstown, New Zealand for a fourth consecutive year ahead of the 2020 season, and says the players love the experience.

In December 2017, AFL side Melbourne decided to cancel a planned pre-season boot camp after players raised health and safety concerns.

A year earlier, Demons players Christian Salem and Dom Tyson suffered injuries during a similar camp.

Adelaide's experimental Gold Coast-based training camp, at which left-field motivational tactics included playing Richmond's theme song on repeat as a reminder of the preceding grand final, also ended in disaster in February 2018.

Crows coach Don Pyke, who stood down in 2019, later expressed regret over pushing his AFL players too far.

"I know how the AFL has changed its procedures, and you have to submit your camp itinerary to the Players Association," Robinson told SEN.

"I understand they have had a couple of bad camps they want to avoid, but I was talking to my coaching staff just the other day about how I feel they're missing out on sharing uncomfortable moments together."

Robinson also said it is important for the coaches to join the players for these uncomfortable moments, which are used to study how players react in challenging environments.

"All of us do it, coaches included. If we're going to put the players through it, the coaches have to do it.

"It's not about playing footy anymore, it's about going through uncomfortable moments, sleep deprivation, to pass mental challenges.

"We can do that as much as them. It's about our development together. I want the players to see that the coaches are going to stand side by side with them at least once in a year."

Robinson said he added Michael Cheika to the reigning premiers' coaching staff because he trusts the former Wallabies coach's character and values.

"I know what his character is like and what his values are like," he said.

"He's grown up in the eastern suburbs and knows rugby league, but he's seeing it through a different set of eyes.

"He's just a different thinker as well.

"I wanted to add something new to our coaching staff for the coaches, and he's an interesting guy."


AAP