Vodafone Warriors players were under the blowtorch in every sense as they launched into the first full day of their preseason camp at Papamoa Beach south of Mount Maunganui today.
On a scorching day on New Zealand’s famed coastal region, the temperature soared to 30 degrees as the players were put through a gruelling, two-hour training stint.
It was the first full day of the Vodafone Warriors' four-day training camp - Camp Papamoa - in Bay of Plenty.
Battling a cocktail of sun, sand, sweat and sunscreen the players first toiled in extreme heat during a searching defensive session.
Then they broke into their inter-squad red, blue, green and yellow teams to indulge in some ultra-competitive surf lifesaving races which put the rugby league players to the test and, in many cases, took them well outside their comfort zone.
With the generous support of the Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club, the teams contested a series of races on surf skis and twin-hulled four-man surf canoes.
The beach was packed on a glorious summer’s day, many of them intrigued – and a little incredulous – seeing the bare-topped Vodafone Warriors players ripping into their defensive work in the sand and then swapping their rugby league skills for surf lifesaving events. The yellow team, including Vodafone Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, came out on top.
It followed an early start to the day.
As the region woke up to a stunning sunrise, the backs had breakfast at 6.00am and the forwards at 6.30am before separate strength sessions for each group at the impressive University of Waikato Adams Centre for High Performance at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.
The NRL squad trained at Mount Smart Stadium yesterday morning before making the road trip to Papamoa where the players are being housed in cabins at a local holiday camp.
The day starts at 6.00am again tomorrow before a team meeting followed by a full day at the Bay Oval precinct with a field session in the morning, pool recovery and then strength and video sessions at the Adams Centre ahead of dinner and a team meeting (featuring a special guest speaker) back at camp headquarters in Papamoa.
The Vodafone Warriors wind up the camp with field and strength sessions at the Adams Centre on Friday morning before they convoy back to Auckland.