Can anyone challenge the skipper in fitness terms, at Sheffield Steelers' boot-camp?

Happy days for Jonathan Phillips
Happy days for Jonathan Phillips

No prizes for guessing who is likely to be the fittest Steeler as Sheffield's training camp begins next week.

Jonathan Phillips, 35, has an obsessive desire to be as well-honed as is physically possible.

Team-mate Rob Dowd says: "Jono will probably be in the best condition of anybody in the League, let alone our club.

"He always smashes the pre-season tests. There aren't many people who spend so much time in the gym. He's unreal."

JP, himself, admits he takes pre-season conditioning very seriously.

"I must confess I get obsessed with gym work and training, once I start I just can't veer off the routine.

"I enjoy the competition with the others and I just try to be the best I can be.

"I am not the most skilled person in the world so I try to make up for that by being one of the fittest guys in the team.

"I feel good and as quick if not quicker than ever - I don't see age as a problem."

Phillips believes the experience in the team's ranks, could be a key element of Sheffield's fortunes through 2017-18.

"We used to see older players coming over that were looking to end their careers here.

"But now we are finding guys coming over from some of the best leagues in the world and on top of their game.

"Our team should have upgrades all over, this season. Defensively we seem to be a lot more sound and bigger at the back.

"There wasn't a lot to upgrade, in fairness, but the coach seems to have done it."

Steelers ended third in the League last year and Phillips said; "We fell short in a year in which Cardiff were unreal. They set the benchmark for us. We have to find the consistency

we didn't always have."

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