NRL legend and Queensland manager Billy Slater has lifted the lid on how his Melbourne Storm side are preparing for wet weather football, saying they have taken their preparation “to extreme levels”.
Speaking on Wide World of Sports’ Billy’s breakdown after a round in which several games were held in atrocious conditions, Slater stressed the importance of anticipating forecasts and adjusting training sessions accordingly.
He said the Storm used to “wet the ball in practice” if they expected to play in the rain.
READ MORE: Kyrgios and Tsitsipas fined after senseless clash at Wimbledon
READ MORE: A young Formula 1 driver survives a horrific accident
READ MORE: McLaughlin scores ‘super special’ IndyCar victory in front of his family
“We went to extreme levels when I was playing, sometimes we wet the ball in training just to get used to those conditions,” Slater said.
“Your shoes are another thing you have to focus on and I usually wore long cleats anyway. But you have to make sure you’re wearing the right shoes.”
That advice was no doubt passed on to the Bulldogs and Sharks ahead of their soggy slugfest on Saturday afternoon, as the Rabbitohs played stunning football in their upset win over the Eels despite the torrential downpour.
With wet weather forecast on the East Coast for at least a week, the weather could still play a part in determining this year’s Origin Series.
If it rains in Brisbane next Wednesday, Slater hinted at the message he would send the Maroons onto the pitch with.
“You need a few things when you’re playing in wet weather. I feel like the more committed and more physical team is usually in the lead; and the other thing you need is a really good game. kicks, so your halfback has to get up and your senior players,” Slater said.
But in the kind of conditions that sent many of the Round 16 contests into wet arm wrestling, Slater revealed he would much rather be in the coach’s box than return to the field.
“It was fun when you were a kid, not so much at NRL level though, because it brings everyone back onto the pitch, they can really line you up when you’re a little guy on the pitch, it’s not not great,” he said.
For a daily dose of the best news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by click here!
The best rugby league players to never appear in State of Origin, including Test reps