The Jon Wilkin Column: We are learning under Nathan Brown

The Jon Wilkin Column: We are learning under Nathan Brown

The Jon Wilkin Column: We are learning under Nathan Brown

First published in Sport by

PRE-season is well under way and the squad epidemic of leg pain is just about starting to subside as the body begins to recognise pain as a normal feeling again.

It is always surprising how quickly your body re adapts to the demands of training but for the first 48 hours it does feel like someone could easily play your hamstrings like a violin - they are that tight.

Pre-season consists of getting leaner, sharper, fitter and faster whilst also working on the intricate parts of your game from passing and catching to running lines and tackle technique.

It is a great time to learn and with Nathan Brown in charge that is one thing everyone is doing at the moment, learning.

In all walks of life it is important to keep listening, learning and improving yourself and in the fast-paced world of professional sport this process is all the more important.

Methods and standards are constantly shifting so it is important as players that you are open to learn from those around you.

The new players have settled in really well, Jordan Turner, Alex Walmsley (who is huge) and Willie Manu.

They all bring something different to the team, Jordan brings pace, strength and power out wide.

Alex brings size speed and raw talent in the middle of the field and Willie is as skillful and destructive as back rowers come.

The intense pre-season and new additions to the team and coaching staff are making me very excited about this year.

It will be a tough start as always but we have never been blessed with a majority of our squad training from day one of pre season and I am sure you will see the benefits of that throughout 2013.

It is sad to see that the shoulder charge has been banned in Australia.

I understand that the research conducted showed that it is a dangerous tackle that can cause injury etc, but what tackle isn't.

If we want to sanitise our game completely we risk losing one of the unique selling points, which is aggression.

I think if you conducted research into most mechanisms behind tackles you would find that each variant has the ability to seriously injure someone so on this basis should we start playing a non-contact version of the game.

I love watching shoulder charges when they are executed well and I would hazard a guess that by the noise the crowd makes when one happens most people agree with that.

I also accept that should a player hit somebody high in the process of attempting a shoulder charge the consequences should be very serious and the player should be banned for a minimum of 4 games for example.

As chairman of players association we balloted the players asking: "Do you support the banning of shoulder charges?" and not one player came forward in support of the movement.

The fans like to watch them, players are happy to be on the receiving end of them and to be honest they are not that frequent that I feel they are an issue anyway.

As usually happens, the NRL will change the rules and we will attempt to play catch up at some stage in the near future.

I believe disciplined and fair aggression are some of the most valuable lessons rugby league can teach.

The ability to get knocked down, dust yourself off, get up and carry on is a lesson for anyone in life isn't it.

Let’s not remove all the challenges our sport places on the human spirit.

A huge thank you to everyone who turned up to watch my Celebrity football match. I didn’t enjoy Saints sound man Stew Whitfield playing the Family Fortunes’ wrong answer noise every time I made a mistake, but I loved the rest of the day.

Thanks to everyone who contributed, the players, the fans -who I knew would be cold on the crisp afternoon – and the Saints staff, especially Phil White, Bill Harris and John Murphy.

The highlights of the day would have to be Tommy Makinson running straight over the sideline with his first touch and then visibly sulking about it and blaming his boots?

Or Sean Long’s angered lash out at BBC Sports presenter George Riley for an aggressive tackle from behind.

The footballers did look a bit bewildered as tattooed Longy showed how rugby league players settle disagreements!

All in all a great so thanks! Next up is my Testimonial game on January 20 at Langtree Park where I will be bringing back some old names and celebrating the start of the new season in style.

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