Places like Florida and Lanzarote make no sense to me when it comes to preparing for a gruelling Super League season. Lanzarote, for starters, has no connection to rugby league other than the teams training there once a year before the season starts. I always looked at Lanzarote as a package holiday destination for familys with little imagination, and a place for our armed forces to let off a bit of steam by having a bit of argy bargy with the locals. Florida on the other hand does have a bit of credibility thanks to having small connections to rugby league thanks to the emergence of Jacksonville Axemen.
However, I feel that Leeds Rhinos should be learning rather than teaching during the preparation of the season. A good example of teaching during pre-season was when Warrington brought Andrew Johns over to give Richie Mylar a few tips on how to become a better half-back. Whilst Andrew Johns stardust didnít rub off onto Richie Mylar in the 2010 season, itíd be unfair to rule out pre-season hook ups like this in the near future.
In an ideal world Iíd love to see Leeds do their pre season training in Australia under the noses of Tim Sheens and Wayne Bennett. This would not only help Brian McDermott become a better coach, it would bring the English and Australian games closer together. At the end of the day we only see each other when the internationals are on and thatís when weíre competing against each other, so sharing tips then isnít an option. But if Leeds Rhinos link up with the best of Australian and Kiwi rugby league to learn new tricks and techniques, then surely itíll be better than facing any club in a meaningless friendly that normally takes place during the off season?
Finally you can put Danny McGuire on any pitch in the world, then your going to get a good game out of him. But Iím sure heíll find it more inspirational and useful spending pre season getting tips from his rugby league idols rather than be someone elseís ĎIíve been on the same field as himí fodder. The early rounds of the Challenge Cup should be the time Super League clubs mix with lower clubs and NOT during the preparation for the new Super League season.
We need better than that if weíre to become champions once again this season.