2020 PRE – 2020 Penrith Panthers Captains Run – Brent Naden, 2020-02-29. Digital image by Nathan Hopkins � NRL Photos
2020 PRE – 2020 Penrith Panthers Captains Run – Brent Naden, 2020-02-29. Digital image by Nathan Hopkins � NRL Photos

NRL star turns woodchopper to stay fit in isolation

Brent Naden would be happy to never see another pine tree again.

"Oh, man, sick of 'em," the Penrith centre said. "I've been cutting them down for weeks.

"Of all the jobs I've been doing out here, this would have to be the hardest."

When it comes to weirdest training regimes during NRL lockdown, good luck trying to beat this rising Panthers No.4 who hunts boar, chops firewood and lops pine trees.

With Penrith HQ officially shuttered up since March 27, Naden has headed west to his hometown of Wellington, where the past few weeks have been spent working as a tree lopper with his uncle.

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Elsewhere, the breakout Panthers centre has also gone on several solo hunting trips - "deer and pigs mainly," he says - while also reacquainting himself with an axe and woodpile.

But as for the worst part?

"Josh Mansour has been Facetiming me every day," Naden says, referencing his Panthers poster boy winger. "And always with his shirt off, doing chin ups. He even strings these great big chains around his neck."


"Oh, it's true, make sure you put it in there," Naden laughed. "Josh honestly Facetimes me every day while doing chin ups with chains around his neck. Then he goes into dips.

"And all while I'm out battling away in the scrub. Dressed in jeans and a long sleeve shirt, cutting down pine trees."

Apart from his unique training sessions, Naden has also been doing weights with the Panthers gym pack he carted west, with younger brother Brock playing the role of training partner.

"And he's really making sure I don't get fat," Naden insisted of little brother. "Brock is a real fitness fanatic so every day we've been doing the sessions Penrith send out.

"On my day off, he's been putting me through extras too. And if it isn't him bossing me around, it's my sister Brittany. She and my pop run the work out here so she's also been keeping me busy."

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Specifically, downing pine trees.

"Coming into winter, a lot of people are chasing firewood," Naden continued. "So I've been logging a chainsaw up and down hills all day, about 4km back and forth.

"And because you're bending over to use them all the time, your back aches too. So that's been my exercise. Same with the hunting.

"But I enjoy it. I'm the type of person who definitely can't be stuck inside.

"Although in saying that, I've probably watched every movie on Netflix too."

So thoughts on Tiger King's Joe Exotic?

"Ah, it's different," Naden laughed. "But I've watched that one and started on Money Heist now. Being in a foreign language, it's taking some getting used to. I've tried it with English voice overs but I might change to the subtitles. It's starting to do my head in."

Same deal, he says, with the battering taken by his new ute.

"Because they've had me carting all the wood in it," he said. "I brought it out brand new, but it's coming back now with scratches and dings all over it."


Originally published as NRL star turns woodchopper to stay fit in isolation