Warriors new trainer Alex Corvo could prove the best buy of the 2018 NRL season

NRL, Rugby League, Warriors
Strength and conditioning coach Alex Corvo has implemented a rigorous training schedule at the Warriors. Photo credit: Photosport

The New Zealand Warriors cannot be accused of taking a same-but-different approach to the 2018 NRL season.

The club has recruited eight new additions to the playing roster, including former premiership winners Adam Blair, Tohu Harris and Gerard Beale, in a bid to change a losing culture that has seen the New Zealand side miss the playoffs six straight years.

But it's off-field recruit Alex Corvo that has coach Stephen Kearney buzzing, as the season approaches kickoff on March 10.

Corvo comes with a reputation as the elite head trainer of the competition.

After being involved in several Premiership title wins for the Melbourne Storm, Corvo's most recent stint at the Brisbane Broncos resulted in two straight finals appearances.

In 15-years as a head trainer, Corvo's club has only missed the playoffs once.

The former Canberra Raiders prop signed a three-year deal with the Warriors at the end of last season, becoming the club's strength and conditioning coach.

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney.
Warriors coach Stephen Kearney. Photo credit: Photosport

Kearney said the fitness guru has brought something completely different to a side that has consistently struggled with conditioning since the 2011 Grand Final run.

"There has been a bit of a change there, yes," Kearney told reporters. "In every way.

"There was a fair bit of a gap that I feel we needed to close in certain areas and that was a big one.

"Hence, we made the decision, at the back end of 2017, to bring in someone like Alex, with his experience expertise, and that's exactly what he has brought.

"It's pretty demanding in terms of what Alex asks for - and that's exactly what the game asks for. The guys have really responded to that."

Kearney said Corvo's fitness regime has been a major focus in the pre-season, as the club looks to turn the tide on what has been a tumultuous period, since the departure of former coach Ivan Cleary in 2012.

On the field, the Warriors' new influx of talented players has left Kearney feeling confident that competition for spots in the match-day squad will intensify.

New Warriors standoff Blake Green.
New Warriors standoff Blake Green. Photo credit: Photosport

The experience of former Melbourne Storm teammates Blair and Harris, backed up by the likes of Peter Hiku and Blake Green, has injected fresh ideas and a winning culture to a club used to losing.

"The way the new recruits have really brought in a competitive spirit, it has pushed the other lads," Kearney said.

"You have to put your best foot forward, as there are talented guys pushing hard for their positions.

"A few of those guys have really brought a different mindset - they have brought a real attitude,- a personality that has lifted the standards.

"It's about their culture - they all want to work hard, they understand what success looks like and what it takes to achieve that.

"They want to help the people around them get better. They all want to help the club improve and get better."

Kiwi centre Beale, who broke his leg against Samoa in the World Cup, won't be a starter in the opening game of the season, but Kearmey is confident the former Cronulla Shark will be back sooner, rather than later.

"We would anticipate about a month into the season. He has worked really hard in the last few weeks and he is coming along great."

The Warriors begin their 2018 campaign against the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Perth Stadium in Western Australia.


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