Brad Ebert in possession at Power training. Picture: Sarah Reed.
Brad Ebert in possession at Power training. Picture: Sarah Reed.

Port Adelaide picks brains of NRL counterparts

Many in the AFL industry have been all too ready to take pot shots at the NRL in recent months over their return to play, but Port Adelaide head of high performance Ian McKeown has been picking the brains of his rugby league counterparts.

The NRL will resume games on Thursday when the Brisbane Broncos take on the Paramatta Eels.

The May 28 resumption date by Australian Rugby League Commission chair Peter V'Landy's was widely panned by those in the AFL when he made the ambitious declaration.

But McKeown has rather been interested in how the NRL clubs have approached the resumption of training and games, and has been in constant contact with Broncos high performance staff to try and get an edge for the Power.

"It's the high performance mafia, we are talking all the time seeing how people are challenged," he said.

"It's more about how things are around the periphery, we need support as well so having that community around us has been really, really strong and I've certainly leant on that.

"We have strong relationships with the (Brisbane) Broncos boys and they are a week ahead of us seeing how they felt it went and we have been able to give them our feedback as well so it all works together really."

Zak Butters and Travis Boak at training. Picture: Sarah Reed.
Zak Butters and Travis Boak at training. Picture: Sarah Reed.

McKeown spoke as Port players engaged in full group contact training for the first time in months.

"We've been waiting for a long time for this," he said.

"It's the smashing and the physical contact but it is the pressure, the perceived pressure also goes up."

Power players were split into two groups, white and black.

Ollie Wines and Brad Ebert were among those on the white group, while the black group had a higher intensity in contact drills.

Premiership ruckman Scott Lycett trained inside as part of being "managed" while Riley Bonner and Xavier Duursma were among a small group that only did running.

McKeown said Robbie Gray was recovering well from a broken right big toe and was giving himself every chance of playing in the Round 2 Showdown.

Following that the Power have to fly to the Gold Coast and are in discussions about training arrangements up there.

Southport's ground is yet to be locked in as a base and McKeown said there would be some aspects they would push for strongly with the AFL.

"That we have exactly as we would have here," he said

"Happy to work around that and be realistic but as soon as they step onto the oval or step into the training facility have exactly as they would have here."

Originally published as Port picks brains of NRL counterparts