Powell wants three weeks ‘pre-season’

Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell believes teams will need a minimum of three weeks to go through a mini pre-season ahead of the sport’s return.

Though there is no return date currently set, discussions have been held about the on-field logistics of how to get matches played.

Coaches and some players have been sent a survey to gather opinion on a number of potential adaptations to the rules for the rest of the season, including an increase in interchanges and shorter games.

Meanwhile, coaches have discussed a number of matters in their own meetings, including the amount of time needed to prepare.

While a handful of coaches believe two weeks is enough time, Powell does not.

“In an ideal world it would be six to eight weeks, but we’re not in an ideal world,” he said.

“I think three weeks is doable, but the big issue is going to be contact. You have to maintain the players’ ability to absorb and manage contact, that’s going to be the big thing, how we get them where we need to be.

“Say for example you tried to go with two weeks, that would be pretty narrow. Your initial contact session can take four to five days to recover from.”

Powell also believes a key rule change required upon the return is an increase in interchanges, which would ease pressure on players set to face gruelling schedules later in the year.

“There was a survey sent out to players and coaches asking for opinions,” he said.

“We’re going to need to be creative. If you’re playing quite a few midweek games there needs to be some assistance for them.

“The sub-rule is a tough one to manage, especially in middle of the field. There needs to be some smartness applied. Look at what backrowers do; they’re the ones who potentially stay on the field 80 minutes as generally, you roll around your middle unit players. Some teams might run with a back on the bench too, but there’s a lot of pressure on the backrowers with the tackling they have to do and they would potentially play 80 minutes. They’re under a lot of pressure, and I would be wary of how they’re coping.”

Powell doesn’t, however, believe games should be shortened.

“I can see the reasoning behind shorter games, but to maintain integrity, I think it needs to stay the same.”