Lengthening season a burnout concern: Toovey
Manly coach Geoff Toovey says the increasingly long season is a concern for rep players, while club captain Jamie Lyon has credited his representative retirement for extending his career.
The Sea Eagles went two weeks into the 2014 finals series and could arguably have gone further if not for late-season injuries to players like hooker Matt Ballin and lock Jamie Buhrer, and also had a number of players involved in the recently-concluded Four Nations tournament.
Those include key players in halves Daly Cherry-Evans (Australia) and Kieran Foran (New Zealand) and utility back and Kiwi fullback Peta Hiku, who played every game for Manly in 2014. Dunamis Lui and Jesse Sene-Lefao were also involved for Samoa.
"It's been three years in a row there's been something after every season, all the different bodies want their share," Toovey said.
"Maybe the clubs need to get together and realise there's only so much you can get out of a player every year and it's getting to its limit."
The coach said both star halves would be given time off until Christmas.
"I think they've got in their contracts up to Christmas. The issue is we start playing football – the [Auckland] Nines is at the end of January, then a couple of trials and we're straight into it," he said.
"There's not much time to recoup and get back on board for another tough season."
Toovey said player burnout will continue to become a bigger problem.
"You saw that with the Four Nations, the Australian team missing several key players. But that's the nature of the beast, the more football you want out of the players the less you're going to see them."
Lyon, who recently penned a two-year contract extension that will see him finish his career at Manly, said a retirement from representative commitments had helped his body endure longer in the NRL.
"Asking the rep guys, it's always hard to back up from the toughest level there – I suppose it's probably helped me in the long run," the skipper said.
"It's a tough game, even backing up it's a tough game, hard sport, some of those guys have done it for years and years."