Ablett: Pre-season crucial

03 January 2018 22:11:18 GMTPlus11

Leeds veteran forward Carl Ablett has emphasised the importance of hard work during the pre-season period, as the Rhinos aim to defend their Super League crown.

Despite trailing Castleford Tigers in the league for the majority of the season, Leeds were victorious over their West Yorkshire rivals in the Grand Final.

And though many players dread the cold conditions and gruelling nature of pre-season, Ablett has been quick to stress the importance of the period.

"As players, we see it as a challenge. You get time to work on things and physically prepare yourself, and the more mature and older that you get, the wiser you get and you find out how important it is at this time of year," said Ablett.

"It's an opportunity to get some work done and physically prepare yourself for what lies ahead, and I think all clubs will say the same. It has been tough, but that's what pre-season is for - to test yourself physically and mentally."

Having made his Super League debut in 2004, Ablett is acclimatised to the demands of a season that often totals up to 40 club matches.

"We know that the season ahead will be long and gruelling, and so that is what we're preparing ourselves for," he said.

"Everyone has to do it and you have to embrace the challenge of working hard and getting the most out of it."

Leeds are back in Super League action on Thursday 1st February, when they travel to face Warrington Wolves.

The Rhinos are 151.00 to win the Grand Final this year, while they are 8.00 to win the Challenge Cup.

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