General NRL Sports Science

mt.wellington

Warriors Orange Peeler
Jun 21, 2012
22,630
Mt. Wellington, Auckland
There was a thread that had some discussion on this but I cant find it so I'll start one up. Not something that makes the press often but its something that intrigues the hell out of me. Now Im not talking about Dank 'science'.

Posted an old article from a couple years ago first featuring Des 'The Mad Scientist' Hasler. Makes for some interesting reading...

Phil Rothfield exposes the tactics and tricks used by Bulldogs coach Des Hasler
PHIL ROTHFIELD
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
SEPTEMBER 28, 2012 12:00AM

884301-des-hasler.jpg

Bulldogs coach Des Hasler leaves the NRL grand final breakfast Picture: Gregg Porteous

THE Bulldogs are fiercely private and protective of the secrets that have made their grand final mentor Des Hasler a rugby league super coach.

Their state-of-the-art training base at Belmore is a coaching factory guarded as fiercely as a North Korean nuclear plant.

Questions about cutting-edge sports science, calves blood injections, beetroot juice, energy supplements, the hyperbaric chamber, oxygen masks, laptops and satellite navigation are banned.

This email from the club's media unit best explains the paranoia when you start making inquiries about a backroom team of more than 20 that has prepared the side for Sunday's grand final against Melbourne Storm.

"Thank you for your request," they wrote back, "Unfortunately, this is not information the board would like published. Sincerely sorry but we will not be able to assist with this particular story."

Week-long investigations from former players and staff reveal the remarkable story of this former schoolteacher who has become a coaching guru.

A premiership-winning halfback, Kangaroo and Origin star who is aiming to make history by becoming the first coach to win back-to-back premierships at two different clubs.

A man so superstitious he still wears his favourite old shoes from 1990 to big games for good luck.

Team Hasler is a coaching staff of 20 highly trained professionals who work on minds and motivation, statistics and skills, diets, tactics, wrestling and fitness who have lifted what appeared to be just an average football team at the beginning of the season to grand finalists.

You look at his Bulldogs team "on paper" and they are probably not entitled to be there on Sunday.

They had only one Origin player this year, NSW centre Josh Morris. Other clubs that finished further down the table had four or five.

THE BEGINNING

IN 2004, Hasler took over from Peter Sharp at a Manly club that was almost broke. He'd run the water bottles the previous year in the orange jersey.

Hasler worked from a demountable shed with just two full-time staff members, Noel Cleal (recruitment/assistant coach) and Peter Peters (team manager and media).

A sponsor chipped in to help pay for Blocker Roach to come on board as a part-time consultant.

Des worked so hard in those days staff sometimes found him asleep at his desk after an exhausting day.

They had to beg and borrow money from sponsors to sign players. One chipped in $5000 to get Steve Matai from Brisbane.

Another supporter who owned a Mobil service station gave them a petrol card to get Kylie Leuluai from Parramatta. The free fuel clinched the deal. With virtually no resources, the Sea Eagles ran 13th.

A meeting at a Warriewood cafe in November that year was to be the turning point in Hasler's coaching career. Then club chairman Joe Cross and CEO Paul Cummings met Hasler over breakfast and coffee to explain 13th wasn't good enough.

Private owners Max Delmege and the Penn family were about to come on board and wanted results.

It was agreed to give Hasler more financial support to assemble the off-field team he required.

With a proper coaching staff, he made the finals in 2005 and 2006, the grand final in 2007 and won the premiership in 2008.

The 40-nil victory over the Storm was all the more remarkable as a coaching achievement considering Melbourne were later found to have spent $750,000 more than Manly on the salary cap.

THE EDGE

HASLER is a leader in statistical analysis, using the Moneyball method of rating players made famous by US baseball team the Oakland As.

His expert at Manly was statistical guru Will Badel, who works with the Blues Origin team and has recently signed with Ricky Stuart at the Parramatta Eels for next year.

He breaks the players' games down in as many as 50 categories, measuring in traditional areas such as tackles and tries scored, linebreaks and handling errors, but also in lesser-considered statistics like slow play-the-balls, ineffective tackles and linebreak causes.

Badel uses Manly, NSW and Kangaroos forward Anthony Watmough as an example of how it works for Hasler.

"Based on the information and statistics we had across the whole comp, we rated Choc in the top five backrowers in the competition who play 80 minutes," Badel said. "Des, being Des, wanted Choc at No.1. He wants all his players in every position to be as close to No.1 as possible.

"So we started looking at Choc's stats. Everything was off the charts in positive areas but it was also off the charts in negative areas like poor play-the-balls, lazy tackle efforts and penalties conceded.

"We had a chat to Des and explained Choc doesn't have to do any more linebreaks, offloads or metres. However, if we can just cut his errors back by half, it's going to achieve him a score at the top of the rankings.

"So we got more out of a guy by pretty much doing the same thing, except he's being a little more efficient and a little bit smarter in the way he goes about his game."

THE INNOVATOR

THE two-time premiership winning coach has been at the forefront of sports science.

He is said to have used calves blood, injected into a player to improve stamina and, if injured, lead to a faster recovery.

This year the Bulldogs switched to beetroot juice, which research has shown can boost endurance by decreasing the amount of oxygen needed during exercise.

It's understood Bulldogs regularly take shots of concentrated beetroot juice as part of their pre-game ritual.

At Manly, Hasler was also the first coach to use high-altitude training methods by having his players do sessions in oxygen masks.

His coaching team was the first to use GPS technology, planting a small chip in jerseys at training and then on game day to track every movement.

On long distance flights to and from the World Club Challenge in England, his players are wired up with muscle stimulation monitors.

While in England in 2009, Hasler's staff visited Manchester United headquarters. Amazingly, Hasler was already up to speed with most of their techniques.

THE LAPTOP

HASLER is big on accountability and ownership of your performance on game day.

A laptop is often seen at halftime in the Canterbury and Manly sheds.

It runs a software program created by a company called Ion Sport, which Manly first started using in 2008.

The game is digitised on to the laptop from multiple angles. The analyst can then create video clips on the fly in preparation for presentation at halftime or in the coach's box during the game.

Players are individually shown vision on their own game, possibly bad defensive reads or weaknesses to watch in the opposition.

One of the benefits of the Ion Sport software is that it allows the coaching staff to modify or reinforce their tactics instantly.

Their training field at Belmore has permanent eagle-eye cameras at each end, their set plays scrutinised in laptop programs.

885147-hasler-support-staff.jpg


THE COMPARISON

IT'S a far cry from coaching in the old days and the methods employed by the original supercoach Jack Gibson for Parramatta's first title in 1981.

Gibson's old right-hand man Ron Massey recalls the only "technology" they had was a set of bathroom scales and some weights.

Throw in conditioner Mick Souter and trainer Alf Richards and that was just about it.

"Mick was more important than any of our players, " Massey said "He was leap years ahead of the other conditioners and trainers and had a huge influence on our success.

"Alf was a long way ahead of the others, too. It was like having an orthopaedic surgeon run on to the paddock.

"He would know what an injury was quicker than X-rays. He was rarely wrong."

The only statistic they kept was tackle counts that committeemen took it in turns to do.

Training was two days a week, later increased to three.

They played touch, soccer, volleyball, tug of war, 400m races and 100m races.

"We just had bathroom scales and I had to weigh (Bob) O'Reilly every Tuesday night," Massey said.

"He used to complain that we weren't weighing the other blokes but I kept telling him he was a big heap and he ate too much."

THE MIND

HASLER's coaching goes far beyond tactics and statistics.

He is big on psychology and employs John Novak, an expert who has worked with golfers, swimmers, tennis players and footballers.

He, too, is not allowed to reveal details of his role.

"I look after mind management. That's what it's called," Novak said. "But I'm not at liberty to talk about what we're doing at the moment.

"I work with them, I'm contracted to them, and it's all about having a positive approach."

The Dogs players were first introduced to him at a pre-season camp in Kiama this year.

He occasionally does one-on-one sessions but more regularly talks to the team as a group, before and after games in the sheds.

"It's all about the power of the mind and overcoming negatives," injured halfback Trent Hodkinson said.

"It is extremely valuable having him here."

THE PROFESSIONALISM

THE salary cap ensures clubs spend the same on playing talent but the Dogs' operations are funded by a thriving leagues club that made $25 million last year.

It gave the football club a grant of $6 million. Other clubs like the Rabbitohs and the Sharks get nothing from poker machines.

Hasler's salary is $750,000 a year. His worth ethic has become legendary. After winning his first premiership in 2008, Hasler was back in his Narrabeen office at 7.30 the following morning to begin planning for the World Club Challenge. He is often quoted as saying his team's success is all about hard work.

Every morning Hasler is first to arrive at Canterbury and most often the last to leave.

"It's about getting that extra five to 10 per cent out of players and Des does that," says Joe Cross, the former Manly chairman who gave Hasler his break in 2004.

"It's all about hard work. Des rallies and inspires men. His players would die for him.

"He's strictly protective of everything he does and gets the shits when other clubs start picking up or pinching his innovations."

Hence, the strict privacy and unwillingness to co-operate for this story.

THE FUTURE

RUGBY league coaches like to tell you they look no further forward than the next game.

Hasler is already looking years in advance.

Recruitment boss Cleal recently identified the top 20 young players in the country, 16 years of age and under. A proposal has gone to the Bulldogs board to sign the lot of them on scholarships.

The plan is to set up a high-performance junior academy similar to UK Premier League soccer.

The Bulldogs have signed Hasler on a four-year contract but have spoken about extending it to 10, knowing of his long-term vision.

THE SUPERSTITIONS

THE Bulldogs coach could be described as eccentric, unconventional and highly superstitious.

"For big games, he still wears a pair of shoes he got on the 1990 Kangaroo tour in England," one source said. "He just keeps on getting them repaired."

Same with the Manly tie he got in 2008. The club changed ties every year but Des kept the 2008 one because he won the premiership wearing it.

On the bus he insists on sitting in the same seat.

Canterbury's home game against Manly at Brookvale this year was just five minutes from Hasler's northern beaches home.

But he stuck by his routine of driving to Belmore, jumping on the team bus, returning to Belmore after the game, then back to Manly.

THE LAST WORD

THE man who was with Hasler at the beginning in that tiny old demountable office next to Manly Leagues Club, Cleal, admires the man's modesty as much as anything else.

"You never hear Des say 'my team', it is always 'our team'," Cleal said.

"He is a very humble man and that's probably why he didn't want the story done."

https://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/...coach-des-hasler/story-e6frfgbo-1226482886031
 
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mt.wellington

Warriors Orange Peeler
Jun 21, 2012
22,630
Mt. Wellington, Auckland
Which leads me to the story that caught my eye this morning. Ironically its about the other team contesting the Grand Final...

Revealed: Sports science secrets of the South Sydney Rabbitohs as they head into grand final
Phil Rothfield Sports Editor-at-Large
The Daily Telegraph
September 29, 2014 12:00AM

THIS is the top-secret sports science technology that has given the South Sydney Rabbitohs the power and strength edge to demolish their premiership rivals this season.

The blood-energising chips and ice fluid treatment had to be cleared by the NRL because its usage was banned by the NFL after the Baltimore Ravens won the 2013 Super Bowl.

Boxer Anthony Mundine introduced the controversial products to Souths coach Michael Maguire, whose players have been wearing the chips, hidden under wrist strapping, jerseys and socks since Round 8 — the same time they turned their season around.

247317-b18853ba-46ef-11e4-a514-3305f3826c2d.jpg

Boxa Protocol performance enhancing technology. Photo Jeremy PiperSource: DailyTelegraph


According to sports medicine experts, the product can allow athletes to perform at a maximum level for longer. Hence, South Sydney’s strong finishes and high energy levels that have been so evident in the build-up to the grand final.

The Rabbitohs coach was reluctant to discuss the benefits from the technology that has been used in dressing-shed secrecy when contacted by The Daily Telegraph on Sunday night.

“I really don’t want to give away any of the info that has got us to this point,” Maguire said.

“We’re always looking at the cutting edge stuff that can help make better players.

“We want to hang onto our own stuff and I don’t want to give away too much.

“Choc’s high-performance team and our guys share information. They came to us.

“My guys (sports science) looked deeply into it before we started.

“This is just another of those one-percenters that every team looks for.

“Maybe I’ll talk about it more after the game.”

247371-b8ff14da-46ef-11e4-a514-3305f3826c2d.jpg

Boxa Protocol performance enhancing technology. Photo Jeremy PiperSource: DailyTelegraph


The wrist strapping can be clearly seen on all Souths players — except for Sam Burgess and Alex Johnston— who wear them in different areas including the chest and ankle.

The ice fluid is most often used, soaked onto a cloth, under the jersey. It helps keep the players’ body temperature stay lower over a longer period of time which prevents fatigue.

It is also sprayed on the players’ jerseys at half-time.

Maguire has distanced the Rabbitohs from any connection with controversial US sports supplements maker Mitch Ross, who was banned from the NFL.

Baltimore Ravens stars including Ray Lewis used the chips and ice treatment, that were developed in the US, before the team won the Super Bowl.

247404-bbeaf510-46ef-11e4-a514-3305f3826c2d.jpg

Boxa Protocol performance enhancing technology. Photo Jeremy PiperSource: DailyTelegraph


“This has nothing to do with him [Lewis],” Maguire said, “It’s all been ticked off by the NRL.

“The game is very thorough in checking these things.”

Souths began using the products after a sluggish start to the season that included loses to the Canberra Raiders, Wests Tigers, Manly and the Bulldogs in the first seven rounds. The turnaround was immediate and remarkable.

Even beaten Roosters coach Trent Robinson commented after Friday night’s loss: “They had too much energy for us.”

Sports science and supplements expert Shannon Brenton explained how the chips work.

“The same as Chinese medicine has identified the meridians that form electrical pathways throughout the body, our technology allows for the continual and unhindered flow of energy throughout these meridians, without the need for needles, heat or pressure.

“It’s a bit like mobilised acupuncture

“The result is an athlete that can play as hard in the 80th minute as they can in the first, hence what we have seen in the second-half stats from the Rabbitohs this year”

https://www.foxsports.com.au/nrl/nr...into-grand-final/story-fn2mcuj6-1227073247432
 

snake77

Warriors 1st Grader
Jul 12, 2013
9,041
The sports science stuff that has come out the last few years is interesting. The Sea Eagles/Dank calves blood probably should have raised more eyebrows at the time but if you do like South did and get the ok from the NRL then it should be fair game to use.

Saw the article about Hasler a few years back. There may have been another article that went over the Bulldogs forwards chain style passing and expanded on the training field all wired up to give the coaches real time data to go over their set moves etc.

The council want us to move and do Mt Smart up as a training ground. What do they think that requires, nice cones? If they are serious the ground should be wired up with cameras and an uncovered running track etc. A budget of 70 mil should cover it.;) Seriously though they need to realise world class training facilities would still cost a fair bit.

Hasler had a long list of what he wanted he signed with the Bulldogs; this was in 2012. It really goes to show how behind the times we were at that point in time when you compare our facilities and what our new coach wanted.

There has been talk of putting a salary cap on the sports science to help the poorer clubs. Now that we have invested more in it hell now this is an off field arms race and we are now in it we don't want to have this scaled back.
 
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Sup42

Warriors 1st Grader
May 7, 2012
18,704
Although I don't want to come across as a naysayer. This stuff helps....but the Warriors short comings have them starting from a handicap before you start talking about bells and whistles.

Look at the bloody rosters of these clubs using before we even talk theoretical science and the placebo effect.
 
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Rizzah

Stop Being Shit
Contributor
Apr 18, 2012
4,185
Dunedin, NZ
I'm surprised the warriors dont use a moneyball type approach. We aren't really able to get the top players here so using a more analytical approach to find players potentially undervalued, but do the basics well, are hard workers and produce less errors. That could plug our weaknesses. Seems a far more logical solution.
 

OMG

Warriors 1st Grader
May 18, 2012
3,991
Churchur
Although I don't want to come across as a naysayer. This stuff helps....but the Warriors short comings have them starting from a handicap before you start talking about bells and whistles.

Look at the bloody rosters of these clubs using before we even talk theoretical science and the placebo effect.

I agree, maybe a massive offer on one of their recruiters would be money well spent instead of a top line player..
 

Rizzah

Stop Being Shit
Contributor
Apr 18, 2012
4,185
Dunedin, NZ
Someone (Mt welly?) might be able to answer this... how strong is our recruitment/scouting network?
Because we find it so hard to get the established talent. We should, and I hope do, have one of the strongest youth scouting networks in and around this country. And this should extend to Australia as well.
We should be doing all we can to get a leg up.
We apparently have cash, and theres no cap on backroom/support staff.
 

mt.wellington

Warriors Orange Peeler
Jun 21, 2012
22,630
Mt. Wellington, Auckland
Statement regarding ice treatments

The NRL said today it does not propose taking any action in relation to the use of iced fluid products used by the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

A spokesman said the South Sydney Rabbitohs club had provided assurances that the Club doctor had carefully assessed the products and was satisfied that they contain no prohibited substances and were not harmful to players.

As a result, no further action was planned on the matter.

https://www.nrl.com/statement-regarding-ice-treatments/tabid/10874/newsid/82242/default.aspx

Guess every club next year will be using this thing...
 
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mt.wellington

Warriors Orange Peeler
Jun 21, 2012
22,630
Mt. Wellington, Auckland
All the Rabbitohs are doing is sticking holographic stickers to themselves. If it does anything it is purely the placebo effect.
Could be like those magnetic wristbands everyone was wearing a couple years ago. That being said, never underestimate the power of the placebo. Its effects have been well studied and documented...
 

snake77

Warriors 1st Grader
Jul 12, 2013
9,041
Those bracelets were quite funny people with them would demonstrate them working by getting you to stand on one leg then push you over. Then you hold the bracelet and try again and they can't push you over; power of the bracelet never mind you know the guy is going to push you so you brace yourself the second time.

In saying that I have two of them LOL. Well my mate was selling them the first one cost me $2 or $5 the second one cause he had so many and didn't care anymore was free. The placebo effect well I had a bad knee for quite a while and was resigned to wearing a brace day to day. I started wearing a brace; after a few months my knee came right and has been since. Now even I would admit it was most likely a coincidence and a combination of resting, avoiding specific exercises etc.


The Eels have a partnership with one of the Universities. Maybe something we could look at to tap into their research facilities to find something that helps performance and recovery.
 
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eudebrito

|-|
Contributor
May 21, 2013
3,711
Get an amateur hypnotist to put our the squad to sleep, spray some magic water on them, and tell them you now are now twice as strong with twice as much energy, and wake up!

Then give them some hollowed out weights to chuck around in the gym. Ohh, look at that personal best konrad.

Voila, you now have a squad full of believers in their own massive potential. That will be 20K in sports science consultancy thanks.

Souths and Canterbury have a pack full of forwards who can run all day with massive workrates because they went out and bought expensive forwards with massive workrates who can run all day. Hmm.
 

mt.wellington

Warriors Orange Peeler
Jun 21, 2012
22,630
Mt. Wellington, Auckland
Whatever happened to the Warriors foray into cutting edge technology? Took me ages to find a pic...

4731174-3x4-700x933.jpg

Warriors hope to be coolest club in the NRL
By Michael Brown
11:37 AM Thursday Mar 7, 2013
Mannering11_300x200.jpg

Simon Mannering of the New Zealand Warriors. Photo / Getty Images.

The Warriors will take the phrase 'cool off' to new levels when players take a spell on the interchange bench this season.

The club have purchased a number of core cooling units which see players dip their hands into over-sized gloves. They are largely mobile freezer units which have been found to reduce core temperatures quickly and improve fatigue levels and performance during matches.

The concept was developed at Stanford University and teams around the world are tapping into their potential, including the San Francisco 49ers who utilised them recently in the Super Bowl. Warriors players will put their hands in the units when taking a break on the interchange and at halftime to - even in the middle of winter.

"The boys feel a little fresher when they are using them," Warriors sports science manager Brad Morris said. "They are coming off the field and normally sweating quite heavily. In two to three minutes, most of the boys have stopped sweating and core temperatures are in a more optimal range.

We should get more work out of them once they are back on the field.

"The fact you are getting the double benefit of slightly more work and feeling fresher is worth the time and money the club has spent on them."

The mittens don't come cheaply, retailing for $1075 in the US, but sports science is an area the Warriors have invested heavily in over the off-season.

On top of the gloves, they have also constructed a new gym to the tune of $1 million complete with altitude chamber and anti-gravity treadmills and are utilising more technology to track players' performance in training and games.

The gloves caused a stir recently when Warriors players tried them at training but they are becoming more used to them.

"It's different," second-rower Ben Henry said. "The science behind it kind of blows you away, increasing your performance by 10 or 20 per cent. I think at the end of the day it's a mentality thing. If you believe they work for you, they will. That's the attitude I have taken. Hopefully it will improve my game and those of the boys."

It should at least make the Warriors the coolest team in the NRL.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10869763
 

brightman

1st Grade Fringe
May 18, 2012
3,580
Auckland
Ahh
Whatever happened to the Warriors foray into cutting edge technology? Took me ages to find a pic...


Warriors hope to be coolest club in the NRL
By Michael Brown
11:37 AM Thursday Mar 7, 2013
Mannering11_300x200.jpg

Simon Mannering of the New Zealand Warriors. Photo / Getty Images.

The Warriors will take the phrase 'cool off' to new levels when players take a spell on the interchange bench this season.

The club have purchased a number of core cooling units which see players dip their hands into over-sized gloves. They are largely mobile freezer units which have been found to reduce core temperatures quickly and improve fatigue levels and performance during matches.

The concept was developed at Stanford University and teams around the world are tapping into their potential, including the San Francisco 49ers who utilised them recently in the Super Bowl. Warriors players will put their hands in the units when taking a break on the interchange and at halftime to - even in the middle of winter.

"The boys feel a little fresher when they are using them," Warriors sports science manager Brad Morris said. "They are coming off the field and normally sweating quite heavily. In two to three minutes, most of the boys have stopped sweating and core temperatures are in a more optimal range.

We should get more work out of them once they are back on the field.

"The fact you are getting the double benefit of slightly more work and feeling fresher is worth the time and money the club has spent on them."

The mittens don't come cheaply, retailing for $1075 in the US, but sports science is an area the Warriors have invested heavily in over the off-season.

On top of the gloves, they have also constructed a new gym to the tune of $1 million complete with altitude chamber and anti-gravity treadmills and are utilising more technology to track players' performance in training and games.

The gloves caused a stir recently when Warriors players tried them at training but they are becoming more used to them.

"It's different," second-rower Ben Henry said. "The science behind it kind of blows you away, increasing your performance by 10 or 20 per cent. I think at the end of the day it's a mentality thing. If you believe they work for you, they will. That's the attitude I have taken. Hopefully it will improve my game and those of the boys."

It should at least make the Warriors the coolest team in the NRL.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10869763
Oh the irony of that photo, looks like a catheter
 

gREVUS

Long live the Rainbows and Butterflies
Contributor
May 8, 2012
8,370
i was always very interested in the glove but was interested to note that the CFA that i volunteer for uses its own version of the glove called a recovery chair. Ive never actually seen one but assume from the photo that the wings hold ice water, same as the glove.
recovery chairs.jpg
 
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gREVUS

Long live the Rainbows and Butterflies
Contributor
May 8, 2012
8,370
just noticed the pillow i wonder if it has ice in it as well?
 

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