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Goodbye cardboard clipboard – Hello connected coaching!

Raiders CEO Don Furner has written a blog for Huawei Australia, on the benefits of new ICT technology at the new Huawei Raiders Centre in Braddon

One of the iconic sights in Rugby League is the passionate coach yelling at his players with a good old-fashioned clipboard clasped firmly in hand, goodness only knows how many clipboards have been thrown to the ground in frustration over the years!

Having been involved in Rugby League for so many years I never thought I’d see the day that the good old clipboard became obsolete but now technology has actually made that happen.

NRL coaches in 2020 don’t need a clipboard – they need something that can do a lot more than just hold down sheets of paper containing their scribbled notes on a gusty day.

That’s why our coaches at the Raiders are now armed with the very latest laptops and tablets when they are out on the field at the new Huawei Raiders Training Centre or on game-day at GIO Stadium - and our finance guys certainly don’t let them throw those around when they are angry!

But, as I am sure you all know, those laptops and tablets are absolutely no use whatsoever unless they can get online and access information.

One of the biggest issues we had at our old training ground was that we could not do that, it was hard enough getting online in the offices let alone out on the training paddocks.

Well, I am absolutely proud as punch to say that today that is not something we have to worry about any longer as with our major sponsor Huawei we launch our Huawei Raiders ICT Platform at the Huawei Raiders Training Centre.

The newly installed ICT facilities at the Huawei Raiders Training Centre take us to the next level as a business and as a football club – they are going to be an absolute game-changer for us on and off the field.

From a business operational point of view the new ICT platform delivers world-class IT and communications services to all of our staff working inside the Huawei Raiders Training Centre, it’s a world away from what we had at our old facilities.

But the real difference is what it’s going to enable our coaches and playing group to achieve on the field and that, ultimately, is going to define the success or otherwise of the Raiders as a football club because we now have a training facility on which every single centimeter is covered by high-speed Wi-Fi.

Now, I can almost hear a few of my old school footy mates shaking their heads here and wondering why on earth you need broadband to coach footballers?

Well, it’s really quite simple, Rugby League evolves and we have to evolve with it.

Back in the 1980s it was perfectly acceptable for the players to have a few schooners and maybe some fish and chips the night before the game – because everybody was preparing like that. Then suddenly they were not.

It’s the same with technology.

Everybody in the NRL has extremely fit players. Everybody has talented players. Everybody has committed players. You can take those factors as read so you have to find other ways to get ahead of the other teams and better connectivity helps us to do that.

Let me explain how that actually works in the real world of Rugby League.

As you all know we already use a lot of video in our coaching to review past games, show strengths weaknesses of our opponents and demonstrate to the players our planned defensive and attacking plays, we’ve been doing it for years.

The problem we have had though is that it’s always been separate to the training ground in that video sessions are connected in the team-room in the clubhouse and physical training is conducted out on the paddock, it has been very hard to combine them – until now.

Now when one of our coaches wants to highlight a crucial point to a player he can call up the relevant video on his Tablet and have it streaming in HD in a few seconds, he doesn’t have to say, “Oh, I’ll show you on the tapes later,” because our new set-up enables the instant delivery of that video to the player on the training paddock.

It doesn’t end there either, with our new set-up we can take the footage that we capture from aerial drones of our attacking and defensive plays and stream it direct to our coaches Tablets or Laptops on the paddock, they don’t need to just tell a certain player the mistake they are making, they can show them within seconds.

It’s all about adding those little one percenters to our game that will help us to the next level of winning that elusive NRL Premiership and the new Huawei Raiders ICT Platform is going to help us add a lot more of those little one percenters, you can count on that.