How 'physical freak' Lachlan Burr won his new Warriors teammates over

2019-04-04 22:00:38

He's big, he's mobile, and he's among the fittest players running around at Mt Smart stadium - although nobody knew that when he signed on.

The Warriors didn't recruit any genuine big names ahead of the 2019 season.

Off the back of 2018, which saw the likes of Adam Blair, Tohu Harris and Peta Hiku all join the New Zealand-based club, it was a relatively conservative pre-season for Stephen Kearney in the way of recruitment.

But one name they did pick up was Lachlan Burr.

Burr, a physical freak, came over to the Warriors without the big rugby league CV of some of his fellow recent recruits, but quickly earned the respect of his new organisation.

From his first pre-season session in New Zealand, it was clear Burr was a special athlete, trainer Alex Crovo told Stuff.

He's 188cm tall and tips the scales at about 105kg, yet led the pack when it came to pre-season testing - a rare feat for a middle third operator.

So impressive were his numbers, in fact, that Burr earned a starting spot in Kearney's side for round one, and has been a constant ever since.

With the retriment of Simon Mannering last season, the Warriors had a hole in the forward pack that needed to be filled.

The former Titan and Bulldog is hoping he can be that player long term, and build on what has been a solid start to his career as a Warrior.

"It's all been a bit surreal, going from last year working fulltime [as an apprentice builder] to now back in the NRL," he said.

"The goal for this year is to just play consistent footy, and help the team as best I can."

An Australian School Boys representative, there were big wraps on Burr coming through the grades on the other side of the Tasman.

He has always "tested pretty well", which was important, but recognised it was not the be all and end all of being an NRL first-grader.

"I've always been a bit of a fit lad naturally, but it's different to game fitness," he said.

"Early on I would tend to come out of the gates guns blazing and run myself into the dirt prematurely, so that's something we have worked on; getting longer and better quality minutes out of me."

Getting longer minutes out of professional athletes is something Corvo has built quite a reputation for doing.

Of Burr, he said the big lock-forward had all the physical tools required to be a top-level NRL player - but there was still plenty of room for improvement.

"The first thing [that impressed] about Lachlan was his application," Corvo said.

"Obviously I have a pretty particular way of doing things, which can take players some time to adjust to. But he is a very gifted athlete and works extremely hard.

"His numbers were right up there in the pre-season fitness stuff, not just among forwards. He's really dived head-first into it and is keen to learn. Which makes all our jobs a lot easier."

Corvo was anointed as the fitness guru behind the Warriors' blistering start to their 2018 campaign, as the side looked fitter and faster than ever before - not that the praise sits comfortably with the man himself.

Still, the Warriors as a unit actually managed to improve on those testing numbers this pre-season.

"Yeah I was pleased with that, but not surprised," Corvo said.

"These are professional athletes and there is constant room for improvement, always. At the end of the day it's all about getting the results on the field, though. That's the number one goal obviously."

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