Huddersfield Giants head coach Rick Stone is hoping to benefit from having had six players in action at the Rugby League World Cup.
Stone believes that the Rugby League World Cup, despite slightly affecting his build-up to the 2018 Super League campaign, will have a constructive impact on his squad over the coming season – especially second rower Oliver Roberts whose performances with Ireland gained a positive reaction from media and fans alike.
“Sometimes, from a selfish point of view, it can disrupt training, but there’s more positives than negatives,” said the Aussie, who coached Fiji in the 2013 World Cup in England.
“One instance is Ollie, who will grow and gain confidence from what he did at the World Cup.
“The experience when you go out, particularly because he went over to another country, is really good.
“All the boys who went over from the squad enjoyed it immensely and loved the chance to go around to explore and play in different cities.
“We’ve always had a fair opinion of Ollie for a long time here.
“He’s a big powerful player. He’ll be the first one to tell you where he’s playing on the field.
“There’s still a bit to learn, but as a talent and as a distracting runner he has a bit of X-Factor. He can make the difference.
“His attitude is really good and as long as he stays healthy I don’t see why he can’t play another major part in our season .
“He’s come back rejuvenated and we’ve got to find where he fits best, but we all understand there’s talent there. He knows he can get better, too.”
And Stone believes his system of a good mixture of conditioning and ball work will pay dividends in the long-term for his Giants players in the season ahead.
“My pre-season involves a football from an early stage,” explained Stone.
“We need to integrate the combination of conditioning and working with a footie when they’re fatigued and tired.
“We want to understand the markers and the sort of metres and speeds we’re trying to hit each session.
“We try and combine two sessions to make it more relevant to a rugby league pre-season instead of the slog.
“I think there is still an element of that, but in the modern game a combination of both is getting closer and closer.”