Kangaroos compare notes with EPL giants

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The Kangaroos’ ongoing pursuit of excellence will take them to Liverpool this week, with members of the team’s backroom staff to compare notes with their counterparts at the English Premier League giants.

The Australian team’s strength and conditioning coach Alex Corvo will lead a team to the Reds’ state of the art training facility on Thursday.

Corvo, who holds a similar role with Melbourne in the NRL, has also spent time at Manchester United and Barcelona’s basketball team during the month-long Four Nations tour in an attempt to keep rugby league at the forefront of sports science.

South Sydney coach Michael Maguire’s friendship with Sir Alex Ferguson helped Corvo secure an invitation to visit United.

And although English football’s most successful manager wasn’t around when the Australian team arrived, the former Canberra forward said the trip was beneficial.

“Michael got to know Sir Alex when he was coaching Wigan and actually got him in to speak to his players before they went on to win the Challenge Cup this year,” Corvo told AAP.

Despite the huge gap in finances between EPL clubs and NRL teams, Corvo claims league sides are not behind in methods.

“They have two or three sophisticated devices which we also use at Melbourne, but they are sat in the corner not being used,” Corvo said.

“We have to share the same thing with two other teams.

“They’ve been using GPS for about three years whereas, in the NRL, we’ve had them for about two, so it’s not as if we are way behind in ideas,” he said.

Liverpool has a strong Australian flavour in their medical department with Football Federation Australia’s former head of sports science Darren Burgess employed in a similar role at Anfield.

He works alongside former Collingwood and Melbourne AFL doctor Peter Brukner, who is the Reds’ head of sports medicine.

However, Corvo revealed that despite all of the money invested by Liverpool into their programs, Premier League players are harder to convince about the benefits than their rugby league counterparts.

“Darren is considered a leader in strength and conditioning, but he has struggled a bit to get them to change,” he said.

“It’s not considered as important to them as it is to us and I believe it has been a bit of a struggle.

“This was really interesting to hear as our players really buy into it.”

© AAP 2014
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