Warriors and Matt Elliott a good fit

DAVID LONG
Last updated 12:45 11/11/2012
Matthew Elliott STD
GRAHAME COX/Fairfax NZ
GROUNDED: New Warriors coach Matthew Elliott is not making any big claims about the next NRL season

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Warriors stalwart Jerome Ropati says the work being done now isn't just about getting the players fit - it's also about putting the foundations in place for next year's campaign.

The arrival of new coach Matt Elliott and his team has been like a broom sweeping through the club.

Even at these early stages it's vital that Elliott and the players get on the right wavelength and that there is mutual respect from both parties, and the sooner that happens the better.

"It is important so that everyone gets on the same page," Ropati told Sunday News.

"Coming from the off-season when we've got new players and coaching staff, a lot of players have their own ideas about what's going to happen or what it's going to be about.

"But Matt said straight away what he wants to achieve and the coaching staff do as well, so it's good for us to understand that and have the same mind-frame, so that in the off-season and pre-season training we have a common goal."

Ropati says Elliott has given the team three goals to achieve in the training this side of Christmas.

"To be disciplined, be tough and work off each other," he said.

"Those are the three simple things that we might struggle to achieve in the off-season because we've just come together for the first time.

"It has been good to meet the new coaching staff and get a glimpse of where they want us to head and what mentality they want us to have and it's one that's different to last year and one that's going to be a lot tougher and more disciplined."

The Warriors players would have made some presumptions about what Elliott would be like before he started working with them and Ropati says Elliott has reached expectations.

"He has been up to NRL standards and that's all I can say," said Ropati.

"For as long as I've been here every pre-season has been tough and Matt is no different.

"He sets an NRL standard and that has to be the norm for everyone, whether it be strength and conditioning, body type, attitude or how you conduct yourself around our training area and our team- mates. That's the standard we have to get used to and we have to lift to that every day."

The Warriors' first pre-season game will be against the Titans in Burleigh on February 9. Although that's 13 weeks away, Ropati says the time will fly by.

"We are out of shape at the moment and that's what makes the process go a lot longer, but I've been in the game long enough to know that this time is going to go very quick," he said.

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"As long as we stick to the simple things and meet the goals that the coaching staff require of us, we don't have to get good by March, we have to get good by October.

"We are in stages at the moment and as long as we achieve the goal at every stage we'll be all right."

While the other players are being put through their paces by the team's new trainer, Carl Jennings, Ropati has to get on with his own recovery as he is still rehabilitating the knee surgery he had after dislocating it in round 10 this year.

"I have been running a bit, doing a bit of agility, but when it comes to running with the team, I'm not there, I am still in rehab," he said.

"I am heading towards being back in full training in January. At this stage I'm getting my knee used to the agility, trying to strengthen it up a bit and the muscle tone is not the same as the good leg and that's my goal pre-Christmas."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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