Dual role for Adam Neal as Oldham's new squad conditioner/player
Date published: 19 December 2017
Adam Neal, Oldham RLFC
Oldham prop Adam Neal is enjoying his new twin role which gives him one foot in the players' camp and the other one in with the backroom staff.
"It is a dual role he will have to adapt to more and more as the season gets going, but if anybody can do it Adam can," said head coach Scott Naylor, who is full of praise for the job Neal is doing as newly-appointed fitness expert with full responsibility for strength and conditioning.
A personal trainer in his professional life outside rugby, 27-year-old Neal is highly qualified to 'train' and he also has, in his job with Oldham, the specific expertise gleaned from his many years as both a full-time and part-time rugby league front-row forward.
Neal said: "Things are going well. My job is made a lot easier because the squad is made up of decent lads who are willing to listen and learn. I wouldn't have taken the job on had it been any other way. All the new lads have slotted in brilliantly, too.
"Scott and Peter (assistant coach Peter Carey) are fully behind me - that's another plus - and everything is going according to plan and on schedule.
"It is hard work to be a squad conditioner and a player at the same time, but anything I don't do because I'm taking the other boys through gym or weights sessions I do on my own at the gym where I work.
"A couple of the blokes I work with have also been down to the club to help out and to give us a lift.
"My philosophy in all this is to take into account that we are not full-timers; we are part-time players who have been working all day before we come to training.
"Each training night we have to do the best we can in the couple of hours or so at our disposal. Enjoyment plays a big part. I strongly believe that if the squad is happy with what's being done, and enjoying the work, the lads will get more out of it and will consequently reap the benefits in terms of their strength and fitness."
Naylor said: "Every conditioner has different ideas about 'when and why' but we have total confidence in Adam and we just leave him to get on with it. Everything is going superbly well.
"Statistically, he must be one of the fittest props in all three divisions, so he clearly knows what he is doing. We were delighted he chose to stay with us this year (as a player) and we are equally pleased that he now has his double role at the club. That's a massive bonus for us."
This week's Tuesday and Thursday sessions were particularly challenging because of the weather - and they coincided with the addition to the squad of the latest new signing, Danny Bridge, whose training for the past two years has taken place in Brisbane, Australia with the sun on his back.
Nayor added: "Last night especially was particularly cold and wet, typical of pre-season training in Oldham. Despite that, Danny has shown in his first two sessions with us that he is a class act.
"He will be an absolutely brilliant signing for us. You can see that already."