Canberra's newest gridiron team, the Gungahlin Wolves, have spent lockdown training together. Just not on the field.
The team has replaced its Monday and Wednesday training sessions, which would usually occur at Amaroo playing fields, with whole team video calls.
Head coach Jason Ray was not letting the pandemic get in the way of keeping the team prepared for the season, which kicks off on November 13.
"We haven't really stopped since the lockdown started. We do zoom calls. Zoom training to go through playbook stuff, and just to catch up. It's super important to keep the team together," Ray said.
"My own coaching philosophy is all about preparation, and being flexible with the players."
Wolves have been training together since last November in an effort to build a player base and get their rookies up to speed.
It is part of Ray's year-round approach to gridiron: keeping players engaged and building a community they want to come back to.
"It is an expensive sport, so it is all about giving the guys value for money and making sure we enhance their experience so they come back year-in, year-out," Ray said
"You need to keep players interested by the product you put out. Through training, through games, through constant communication and learning not just on the field but off the field."
Gridiron in the ACT has been plagued by clubs starting up, only to disappear years later. None of the sport's original teams are playing in the senior competition this year.
Wolves' inclusion in the Capital Bowl marks the first time since 2018 more than two clubs have clashed for Canberra's gridiron title.
They'll be up against Woden Gladiators and reigning champs, the Centurions.
With the ACT government's easing of lockdown restrictions, gridiron training is set to resume - in person - on October 29.
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