Pritchard looks for balance as workload skyrockets
Eels hooker Kaysa Pritchard feels like he's only just starting out on his a NRL career following an all-too-rare run of 80 minute games and says one of the messages from his coach is to rein in his mile-a-minute style.
Round 1 this year was Pritchard's first ever run-on start after 16 games off the bench last year and seven bench games in three injury-ravaged seasons before that.
Despite the club's on-field woes of late, Pritchard has steadily increased his work rate; the 22-year-old is averaging over 70 minutes on field this year and 48 tackles per week over the past three games.
Opposition sides are running a ton of traffic at the 90-kilo rake but as it stands he is managing the increased workload ok.
"I feel all right, I feel like I've just started my career actually! It feels good, six weeks I feel all right," Pritchard told NRL.com.
"I'm happy, it's always been a goal of mine [to be a starting player] and for me to be here now I'm happy where I'm at at the moment. I've still got a lot of work to do and a lot of room for improvement."
His coach Brad Arthur has certainly kept an eye on Pritchard's energy levels.
"'BA' has been pretty positive, that's his message to me is managing myself because I love to do everything. I love getting in there, the kick chase, I'm everywhere," Pritchard said.
"But as we all know you can't do everything when you want to get through the 80 so he's sort of pulled me back a bit and I have myself but that's been the message, trying to manage and get through the 80. I feel all right, I'm still getting used to it."
Pritchard is part of a new-look spine at the Eels that was always likely to take a bit of time to gel with a rookie fullback in Bevan French and a five-eighth in Clint Gutherson that is still learning to play in the halves after spending his juniors at fullback.
While Pritchard is five years on from his NRL debut he is also a rookie at this level with just 29 games at 22 years of age.
"I reckon we're going all right, it's a new spine but I reckon we'll be sweet. Give it a couple of weeks," Pritchard said.
"We just haven't been able to hold the ball. We haven't had much of a chance, we haven't held the ball in good-ball but we'll be right.
"It's just attention to detail. We're dropping the ball, throwing the ball away. It's just attention to detail and once we get that down pat we'll be sweet."