The Wigan lads returned to training this week.
It was good to get back in and see the lads again... though the smiles didn’t last long!
On our first day of training, we went up to the University of Central Lancashire for VO2 testing.
It’s a relatively-simple procedure; the treadmill is set to a pace, and then every two minutes the incline is increased - and we go for as long as we can.
It’s a test of our baseline fitness, and our mental strength - there were lads giving everything they had, and falling off the back of the treadmill.
Then, after a minute-and-a-half rest, it’s the rowing machine to see how quickly they can do 1,000m. And then after that, a similar exercise on the Watt bike.
I’m not going to lie, it’s a pretty horrible experience!
Because of England duty in previous years, I’ve missed out on it – though I can’t say I missed it! – and so it was on my mind for about two weeks beforehand. I’ve been keeping myself ticking over in the off-season.
I did okay, but I’m not going to talk myself up, because most of the lads went well; we’re a pretty fit club.
The rest of the week has been spent doing more usual training - wrestling, field sessions, gym - and it’s been good to get back into the grind.
New signing Gabriel Hamlin seems to have settled in well.
He’s pretty quiet, as you’d expect, but he’s got loads of enthusiasm. He’s not the tallest but he’s stocky, and you can see why he would be right up Waney’s street.
I’m looking forward to watching England’s game against France tomorrow.
They got the two points against Lebanon, but Lockers said afterwards they were disappointed with their second half.
Wayne Bennett puts a big emphasis on being squeaky clean, and I imagine that will be an area they want to improve on before the quarter-final.
I’m glad Jermaine McGillvary has been cleared to play. Common-sense has prevailed.
I was surprised he was charged with biting; I thought it was clear Robbie Farah pushed his forearm into his face.
I can say, knowing Jermaine, he would never have intentionally done something like that.
I’m pleased for him he’s free to play, and it’s certainly good for England because he’s been one of our best players in the tournament so far.
France are no slouches, but I think England have enough quality to get the win.
And it’d be good to go into the quarter-final on the back of a good performance, which I’m sure they’re all keen to do