The Rhinos began their warm weather training camp but their was a chilly reception for the squad at their Jacksonville base.

The Rhinos began their warm weather training camp but their was a chilly reception for the squad at their Jacksonville base. After the 18 hour journey to get to Florida, the Rhinos headed for their first day of training on Friday. However, the aim of the trip being a warm weather training camp was lost on most as they came out to a chilly 10C morning, just 2 degrees warmer than Leeds. However, crucially the weather was dry and the pitch on which the Rhinos will be training and playing on is in perfect conditions, like a summers day at Headingley Carnegie. The locals are very keen to tell everyone about the weather, it must have something to do with Florida being called the Sunshine State, and almost everyone is promising sunshine by Monday. The group have got five large Chrysler cars with driving shared out around the squad with Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock and Ian Kirke amongst the designated drivers. From their hotel base, the Rhinos took the ten minute journey to the University of North Florida to begin training. The University is where the Rhinos trained in 2001 on their last visit to Florida but there has been a lot of development since then. After the long journey, the training camp began with the chance to ease the players back into training. The group was met by Spinner Howland from the Jacksonville Axemen, who has done a fantastic job in organising the trip to Leeds and Souths, and Becky Purser the Director for Campus Recreation at UNF, who showed the squad around and gave a tour of the campus. The squad was split in to forwards and backs with one group using the swimming pool in the impressive Aquatic Centre whilst the other group was in the Dottie Dorion Fitness Center before swapping over. Following this first session, the whole group headed to Hodges Stadium, the venue for the Australia Day Challenge against South Sydney Rabbitohs but also the training field for the Rhinos during their stay. The team have been given the use of a locker room at the stadium for the duration of their stay and Brian McClennan was able to have a short meeting in their with his squad before everyone headed out to the field. The field session took just over an hour as the squad got the long journey out of their legs. Last years Player of the Year Rob Burrow certainly stood out on the first day of training wearing a pair of red boots that Dorothy would have been proud of. Rob was heard whispering to himself, "There’s no place like home" whilst clicking his heels but he remains part of the training group! Following the completion of training, the squad had lunch on campus and were pleasantly surprised to hear the $7.10 fee was all you can eat and after a tough morning’s training that was music to the ears of particularly the forwards. The players had the afternoon off to either rest of explore the local surroundings before an evening meeting with the coaching staff to look ahead to the season after an evening meal at the hotel. The Rhinos take on South Sydney Rabbitohs at Hodges Stadium at the UNF on Saturday 26th January in the Australia Day Challenge. You can find out more information on the game by simply clicking here