Reds change it up in search for surge

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Reds were treated to a surprise on their first day back at Ballymore in 2018.

Rather than running laps, they were shipped off to the Enoggera Barracks for a gruelling 72 hour session with the 8th and 9th Battalion of The Royal Australian Regiment.

Taxing team building drills, sleep deprivation and food deprivation were the key themes of the three day camp.

New Reds coach Brad Thorn played under legendary Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett from 1994 to 2000 and 2005 to 2007 and Bennett is famously a big fan of these camps that test the players physically, mentally and can expose soft underbellies.

One of the Reds' new recruits in the staff department, strength and conditioning coach Daniel Cooper, also spent 17 years in the SAS as both a special forces operator and high performance coach.

Led by Lieutenant Jarrad Dekuyer, the camp was designed to put Thorn's squad well outside their comfort zone.

"We're taking them through an infantry themed, multi-day resilience activity that will test their mental and physical toughness," Dekuyer said.

"We're going to put them outside their comfort zone so that they are required to look to each other and build those team bonds.

"We're depriving them of sleep, depriving them of the amount of food that they would normally get and we just keep going."The Reds were put through rigorous sessions over the 72 hours. Photo: Department of Defence/Anna-Lise BrinkHalfback James Tuttle cut an exhausted figure.

"I'm buggered," he said.

"It was really tough.

"The coaching staff want us to bond and get us out of our comfort zone - get us doing something else and see how we react under pressure from a different sort of extremity."

The Reds open their 2018 Super Rugby season against the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday February 23, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT. Buy tickets here.