THE Sydney Roosters have reportedly undertaken a radical diet in a bid to prepare themselves for the 2018 season.
Channel Seven reports the Roosters turned to dietary consultant Keegan Smith, son of former coach Brian Smith, to help build their immunity levels.
The squad undertook a full-day fast last November in which players were only allowed to swill a spoonful of oil and ingest soluble drinks, along with detox agents such as diatomaceous dirt and activated charcoal.
According to Seven, the players were also told to go for swim in an ocean pool and drink two mouthfuls of seawater.
It’s not the first time NRL players have turned to strict diet plans, with Wests Tigers flyer Kevin Naiqama last year revealing he was on a tight food regimen of salmon, avocado and spinach at the time.
Penrith winger Josh Mansour also has an intense game day diet plan which runs from 8am to kick off.
Meanwhile, the Roosters are reportedly poised to appoint former NRL referee Chris James as the club’s whistle-blowing consultant.
According to Wide World of Sports, James, who was sacked by referees boss Tony Archer at the end of 2017, will advise the players on rule interpretations and how to handle individual referees week-to-week.
The Roosters will be looking to go all the way in 2018 after they were eliminated in the preliminary finals last year.
MANLY GRANTED SECOND EXTENSION
THE Manly Sea Eagles salary cap saga could extend deep into the NRL pre-season after they were granted a second extension on their reply to a breach notice.
The Sea Eagles were on Wednesday expected to formally respond to preliminary findings of potential cap breaches stretching over the past five seasons.
However, after being offered an deadline of January 31, an NRL spokesperson confirmed the club have been given until February 5 to make their case.
Last December the governing body threatened a significant fine should the preliminary findings be confirmed, as well as a penalty on the club’s salary cap for 2018.
Any reduction in the club’s $9.4 million cap would greatly hinder their chances of signing an established playmaker, after releasing five-eighth Blake Green over the summer.
Manly have made no secret of their desire to lure former playmaker Trent Hodkinson back to the northern beaches, however, face the uphill battle to fit in his reported $600,000 deal.
The Sea Eagles have ex-Sydney Roosters halfback Jackson Hastings on their books, as well as new face Lachlan Croker, after his move from the Canberra Raiders, to wear the No.6.
The contract of December recruit Joel Thompson could also be heavily scrutinised.
The former St George Illawarra forward has already begun training with Manly but his contract may only be provisionally registered before the club’s salary cap is cleared by the NRL.
Earlier this week, Manly chairman Scott Penn conceded the club may have had trouble appropriately addressing what he described as “technical issues” over their salary cap dramas.
“There are some areas we need to defend but it is really technicality issues. There is no wholesale rorting or anything like that,” Penn told News Corp Australia on Monday.
“We don’t feel like we have done anything outside the rules but some of it is down to interpretation.
“No one has been paid anything more than is in their contract or that other third-party people have paid them directly.
“The allegations are technical issues that perhaps weren’t done appropriately. “But it has never been anything more than that.”
The Sea Eagles have a trial game against the Cronulla Sharks on February 17 and the Sydney Roosters a week later before they open their NRL season against the Newcastle Knights on March 9.
ENGLISH FLYER WANTS ANOTHER CRACK
WIGAN winger Joe Burgess admits he’d like to return to the NRL one day.
The speedster, who will return to Australia with the Warriors for their historic Super League game against Hull FC in Wollongong and match against South Sydney, spent just one year Down Under in 2016 before returning to England.
Burgess originally signed a three-year deal with the Roosters but after six months was released to the Rabbitohs for the remainder of the season before he returned to Wigan.
“I hope to go back there one day and have a proper crack,” Burgess told NRL.com.
“I’d love to have another crack at Souths because I really enjoyed the club and everyone was pretty good to me. I just didn’t find my feet at the Roosters but when I went to Souths I found a bit of form.”