Salford coach Ian Watson believes the gruelling Super League schedule is manageable, although it will need impeccable management.
The fixtures for both Super League and the Challenge Cup were finally disclosed last week and outlined a brutal end to the season, particularly for those with aspirations of lifting major honours.
Whichever sides make the Challenge Cup final will face a staggering 13 games in just 54 days, the equivalent of a game almost every four days.
It means for clubs like Salford, with relatively small squads, recovery is going to be absolutely crucial.
“It’s the management of your players and doing it in the right way that’s going to be key,” Watson said.
“Everyone will face an increase in workload and the players will take it more physically and psychologically.
“At the same time you’d rather be successful than not and you’d rather be playing in the finals than resting; they won’t want time off when there’s a final being played.
“They’ll be keen to get back. Rugby League players just want to play.”
Watson will welcome his squad back to training today (Monday) with one of his priorities revolving around the new rules being implemented across the competition.
Pay cuts were resolved last week, which is another bonus for Watson as he prepares for three crucial weeks of training.
“The players have done what they needed to do, as have the club and the staff. There can’t be talk about finances now.
“If you think about some of the young lads who max their lives out, it might make them a bit smarter and put some money away in case something like this happens again, though hopefully, nothing like this does happen again.
“But we can focus on rugby, the rules and the effect it will have on our game. I was a bit apprehensive, because if you look over in Australia you don’t see blowout scores, but in the last few weeks there’s been more than there has been in the last few years. If you’ve recruited players who aren’t used to those repeat efforts then it’s going to be a problem.
“It puts a little bit of pressure on players, staff and referees, so how do they referee the games now? There’s going to have to be a clear indication of what is and isn’t allowed, but we’ve got somebody coming down from the referee’s department to have a chat with us this week.”
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