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Cats to attack break

Patrick Dangerfield says the group needs to challenge itself.  - Geelong Cats
Patrick Dangerfield says the group needs to challenge itself.
It’s long enough that you can hide, so we’ve got to make sure as a group we’re really challenging each other during this period and we’re using it as a period to get better not just to refresh.
Patrick Dangerfield

GEELONG will attack the Christmas break as opportunity to get a leg up on the opposition as the league faces its longest Christmas shutdown period on record.

Players will embrace a 21-day leave period this year over the Christmas and New Year period as a part of the AFL players new Collective Bargaining Agreement, extended from the two-week break of years past.

Cats physical performance manager Scott Murphy says the players have the opportunity to do things better than their competitors.

“Three weeks is a long time for elite athletes to be away and it’s unique for the AFL. It is a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity if we do it better than our opposition,” Murphy says.

“Players need to appreciate the opportunity to be home but also appreciate the opportunity to improve.”

Geelong vice-captain Patrick Dangerfield agrees that the extended break could set teams apart come the season proper.

“Obviously the break is a bit longer than previous years. I suppose we’ll find out which team used it the best through the early part of the season,” he says.

“It’s long enough that you can hide, so we’ve got to make sure as a group we’re really challenging each other during this period and we’re using it as a period to get better not just to refresh.

“I don’t think after six weeks of pre-season before Christmas that you really need too much of a refresher.”

Murphy says the onus will be on the players to adapt to their individual training environments.

“The prescription of exercise is crucial but in combination with that is the education of what the requirements are,” Murphy says.

“Everyone will have a different set of circumstances – where they choose to have their Christmas break has a huge influence on the facilities they can use. The temperature and how hot it is might change and adapt the situation as well.

“You need players that are engaged in their program and you need players that understand that the performance process and what’s best for them, so they can make good critical decisions at the time.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs