Sydney Roosters skipper Anthony Minichiello says a clean six-week break from football will ensure the tricolours’ World Cup-weary stars will be primed to defend their NRL title when season 2014 kicks off.
The premiers fielded 16 players at the World Cup in Britain, more than any other club, with four – Sonny Bill Williams, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Frank Paul Nu’uausala – all named in the Kiwis’ team for Sunday morning’s (AEDT) final against Australia.
With the Roosters to face Wigan in the World Club Challenge on February 22 at Allianz Stadium and the NRL Nines to be staged in Auckland the week before, there are fears the Roosters’ campaign for back-to-back titles could hit a snag due to player burnout.
But Minichiello, who has returned from playing for Italy in the international showpiece, is confident fatigue won’t be a problem.
“It’s important to get away from football and freshen up, not just physically but mentally as well,” Minichiello told AAP.
“And that’s what we will look to do.
“You need to get away from it all and just really relax and then get back into it.
“You don’t want to be training or thinking about training in the off-season. You have a good break and then get back into it. And that’s how all the boys will approach it.
“To have a good break, to get away from it all and that makes sure that things like burnout won’t affect us.”
The Roosters’ World Cup stars won’t return to training until the New Year and their workloads will be monitored on a case-by-case basis by coaching staff.
The 33-year-old Minichiello, who is entering his 15th season of first grade, says the youth in the Roosters’ squad should ensure they have another successful season in 2014.
“When you look at our squad, it is still a young squad,” Minichiello said.
“There is a fair bit of experience there but there are also some young guys who are coming through who are really going to challenge for spots next year.
“It’s a good squad and hopefully we are going to challenge for the title again next year.”