NRL insists clubs knocked back drinks break offer despite player complaints
Date: March 6 2016
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The NRL has confirmed both the Canberra Raiders and Penrith Panthers opted against a drinks break despite their players complaining they weren't afforded the opportunity in near 40 degree heat on Saturday.
The Roosters and Rabbitohs opted to have a drinks break at a stoppage in play around the 20 minute mark of each half of their match on Sunday (28 degrees), however there was no such break in the nation's capital for the Raiders and Panthers.
Panthers five-eighth Jamie Soward took to Twitter on Sunday afternoon to express his concerns over the health of the players who played in sweltering conditions at GIO Stadium.
However the NRL insist the club medical officers of both clubs were reached an agreement not to have a drinks break, despite the coaching staff or players not aware such a decision was reached before the match that kicked off at 3pm.
Coaching staff and players aren't asked to weigh in on decisions because medical officers are encouraged to make decisions based on the welfare of players rather than how a break would affect the match.
"Drinks breaks for different games??? Canberra has no beach to get breeze from either," Soward tweeted on Sunday.
Raiders captain Jarrod Croker replied saying: "I got told it hit 40 degrees in the middle of the field, dunno how they work it out."
There was a break mid-way through each half of the Roosters-Rabbitohs game, which reminded Soward of the heat his team played through 24 hours earlier.
"Drinks break after a try scored equals 3-4 minute break. Still couldn't get one yesterday," Soward Tweeted.
The Tigers and Warriors agreed against having a drinks break in the 5.30pm match, however it was implemented for the under 20's match that preceded it.
In the situation the two clubs disagree, the home medical officer has to contact NRL medical officer Paul Bloomfield to weigh in on the discussions and make a decision.
The NRL operations manual states: "During any match in a season, should the club medical officer for each of the opposing teams both agree that, in their joint opinion, the prevailing weather conditions necessitate some relief from normal playing conditions, the NRL ground manager may approve concessions."
Drinks breaks for different games??? Canberra has no beach to get breeze from either.— Jamie Soward (@sowwowofficial) March 6, 2016
They mightn't have liked it at the time, but Canberra Raiders players insist torturous summer training sessions in the middle of the day was a huge factor in outlasting Penrith 30-22 on Saturday.
In brutal heat, the Raiders conceded 14 unanswered points to trail 22-16 early in the second half, before hitting back in the final half hour.
Canberra's strength and conditioning staff face the challenge of getting the players ready for another warm afternoon home clash with Sydney Roosters this Saturday, where a top of 32 degrees is forecast.
Raiders strength and conditioning coach Nigel Ashley-Jones said they had trained in the hottest part of the day to gain an edge.
with Jon Tuxworth