BY THOMAS ALDERSON
Professional rugby league is extremely tough and punishing on the body. It is therefore vital for any team striving for success to have players taking to the field from 1-17 every week in peak physical condition.
The sport has evolved somewhat over the years where there is now much more emphasis and importance placed on the strength and conditioning regimes in place within rugby league clubs and the Toronto Wolfpack are no different.
After emerging as the dominant force in this year’s Kingstone Press League One competition, the Wolfpack have displayed an extra degree of skill and speed; a factor which has arguably been surpassed by an impressive physical superiority, evident in every display so far this season.
Quite simply, Toronto’s big forward pack has bullied every opposition pack outside of Super League opposition to date. The success of the squad is largely down to the committed work of the strength and conditioning team; which is unique in the sense that it is made up of individuals who also double up as players.
Wolfpack hooker Bob Beswick and second rower Andrew Dixon have been working tirelessly both on and off the field in order to elevate Toronto onto their seemingly unstoppable course towards promotion, as they put in the hours away from game day to make sure themselves the rest of the Wolfpack players are physically prepared each week.
The conditioning of the players is also particularly important for the Wolfpack as they have to incorporate unprecedented transatlantic travel into their schedule, being the only side to play such a distance away from their fellow competitors, and both Beswick and Dixon have tailored their training sessions to make it all manageable.
An insightful behind the scenes feature in the third episode of Last Tackle TV’s – Inside the Toronto Wolfpack introduces you to the multitalented duo and shows you a snippet of the varied but undoubtedly tough gym programs the squad are put through to make sure they are raring to go on game day, wherever they may be playing.
Both Beswick and Dixon are fully committed to ensuring the Wolfpack team reaches its ultimate destination of top flight Super League and are loving being involved at this pioneering club as both playing and coaching staff.
“We can be competitive with a Super League side but I don’t think we’re quite there yet,” said Beswick.
“The main thing that can hinder us is sleep and fatigue but we have strategies in place that help to combat that and the lads are buying into it which is good.”
“It’s very much a blended role, we alternate in a lot of aspects of it,” added Dixon when asked about how the pair’s approach works in practice.
“We tend to take turns with the warm ups but generally we take a lot of the gym sessions and strength sessions together.”