Rugby League

NRL: Canberra Raiders prop Shannon Boyd goes on self-imposed alcohol break to boost minutes

Canberra Raiders prop Shannon Boyd credits a self-imposed booze break for allowing the 122kg giant to cope with searing temperatures and the reduced interchange in the NRL.

The 23-year-old from Cowra will be crucial to getting the Raiders' forward pack off to another strong start when they host the Sydney Roosters at Canberra Stadium on Saturday.

Exhausted Raiders forwards Sia Soliola, Shannon Boyd and Jeff Lima during Saturday's win over Penrith.
Exhausted Raiders forwards Sia Soliola, Shannon Boyd and Jeff Lima during Saturday's win over Penrith.  Photo: Getty Images

Boyd laid a great platform for the Raiders in his opening 20-minute stint in last weekend's 30-22 season-opening win over the Penrith Panthers played in 35-degree heat with no additional drinks breaks.

He finished up making 74m in eight carries along with 22 tackles in 35 minutes as the Raiders adapted to having eight interchanges as opposed to 10 last season.

Raiders prop Shannon Boyd has taken a break from alcohol.
Raiders prop Shannon Boyd has taken a break from alcohol. Photo: Bradley Kanaris

Boyd put his increased fitness down to cutting out alcohol during the pre-season, something he intends to continue.

"I tried to stay off the grog a lot more and I didn't drink near as much, which I think has helped a lot," Boyd said.

"I haven't drank for about five or six weeks and I'll try and do another five or six before I have another.

"Last year in that heat if I was starting, I wouldn't have got those minutes.

"I think it has helped massively for me and have to keep working on that."

Boyd isn't the only Raiders' front-rower who has put himself on a booze break in order to get the best out of themselves.

Fellow starting prop Frank-Paul Nuuausala and interchange forward Paul Vaughan have also cut alcohol out of their diets to hit the ground running this year.

"There's a fair few that haven't been drink near as much," Boyd said.

"You can notice a big difference in Frankie - he's lost a lot of weight and trimmed down and I reckon he played really well on the weekend. 

"Vaughany's been good and he's looking fit and he hasn't been drinking as much either."

Boyd has worked closely with Raiders NRL strength and power coach/nutrition Leigh Woodbridge on ways to improve his weight and maximise his performance.

"You've got to make sure you eat well during the week and do a couple of extra top-ups in the gym to maintain your weight and get a bit of a sweat up now and then like you would in the pre-season," Boyd said.

"It shouldn't be too bad after five or six rounds weight might come up a little bit, but we'll knock that on the head and do a little bit more fitness.

"It's helped massively to stay off the grog."

Boyd lost about three and a half kilograms after Saturday's game, but knows the forwards need to punch out more time on the field under the new interchange rules.

"If you're not getting that 20 minutes at the start of the game it's going to put a lot of pressure on the other forwards coming on," he said.

"It's a pretty big thing for us.

"We've got to keep working on our fitness, keep our weight down and playing hard and trying to get those minutes out."

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