Raiders stretch talent

Canberra have a secret weapon to help launch an attack on the 2009 NRL Telstra Premiership.<br><br>While most teams undergo a torturous pre-season ritual of weight training, fitness sessions and ball drills, the Raiders’ coaching staff has implemented a ‘new’ age-old technique – yoga.<br><br>Raiders halfback Marc Herbert says that yoga could be the driving force behind their tilt at the Premiership this season.<br><br>“We’ve been doing a bit of yoga once or twice a week as a team,” Herbert said.<br><br>“Our strength and conditioning coach, Matt Ford, thought it would be a pretty good idea for me and a couple of the other boys who might be a little more injury prone. &nbsp;<br><br>“I’ve had a couple of injuries over the last couple of years and so I have been doing some extra rehab and yoga classes as well just to improve flexibility and strength.”<br><br>The Raiders surprised many critics to finish the Centenary year in sixth place, despite a swathe of injuries cutting through their playing ranks throughout the season.<br><br>They lost William Zillman, Phil Graham, Lincoln Withers, Ben Jones, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs and Glen Turner during the season to injury.<br><br>Perhaps it is the reason behind the Green Machine looking outside the square to prevent a horror run of injuries in 2009.<br><br>“I just want to stay injury free,” Herbert said.<br><br>“With yoga, your flexibility improves and your core strength improves and it reduces the risk of injuries.<br><br>“I think it has made a significant difference actually. &nbsp;<br><br>“When I have a big load in pre-season I used to get a lot of niggling injuries but I haven’t got them this year. <br><br>“It’s hard to tell but it probably has made a pretty big difference.<br><br>“We did have a couple of injuries (last year) and I think the coaching staff might have thought there was too much load on the players.”<br><br>The Raiders take on the Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Sports Stadium tonight.<p><a href="http://www.nrl.com/Scores/TelstraPremiership/tabid/10240/default.aspx?roundid=770&amp;matchid=5334&amp;defaulttab=Preview">Click here for all your match day information</a></p>