Luke Brooks column: Inside the place I share with NRL opponents Mitch Moses, James Tedesco
April 2, 2018 6:00am
by Luke Brooks
Source: FOX SPORTS
LIKE everyone else, I love the Easter Monday clash — it’s one I circle on the calendar every season.
But this time it will be a bit different to what I’m used because I’ll wake up at home on game day and one of my opponents will be waking up under the same roof.
The house of Brooks, Teddy and Mitch
It’s pretty well known now that I share a place with two of my best mates, James Tedesco and Mitchell Moses, so a few times a year our game day ritual is shared for the hours before we go into battle against one another.
Funnily enough, for me and Mitch things won’t be too different from any other game day.
Last year after Mitch moved over to the Eels we played each other once and on game day we went and got breakfast together.
This year it’ll probably be the same story. That might seem weird to people who don’t know us, but we’re pretty good at keeping our footy and home lives separate.
We don’t talk tactics with each other. Actually we don’t talk much footy at all.
It’s obviously changed the dynamic between us day-to-day now that Teddy is at the Roosters and Mitch at the Eels — when we were on the same team we would ride the highs and lows of our wins and losses together.
These days we have our own emotional rollercoasters that are completely separate from one another.
We may play for different teams but the three of us are very close, so we still really get around each other and support each other when we go through tough periods.
Other than the fact that we’re all wearing different colours and going to different training sessions, nothing much has changed.
We’ve actually all been playing a fair bit of golf recently, which has been fun. Either Teddy or Mitch would be the best out of us three but we do stuff like that as much as we can to unwind.
New side, new attitude
It’s been a pretty good start to the season for us at the Tigers, although it would have been great to pinch another win against the Broncos.
A lot has changed since the end of last season and it’s been a pretty exciting place to be with all the new players coming in.
To me it felt like a new club when we first came back for training.
I remember the first day I was pretty nervous, you’re out of your comfort zone because you’re not with the same people you’ve been with for the last few years.
But I think it was definitely a good feeling, the guys that came over they were excited to get stuck into training and everyone who was already over there were keen to have a big pre-season.
Ivan Cleary’s been a driving force behind what the team is all about now.
We had a lot of tough sessions in the pre-season and did a heap of running. Training hard together was really positive — that’s where it all started.
The coaching staff just wanted us to have each other’s back in all aspects of footy, especially in defence. If someone made a mistake or missed a tackle, there’d be someone else there to clean it up.
I think that effort has really shown the first couple of weeks in our defence, but there is always room for improvement.
Game managing and evolving our attack
I’m working hard to continue to improve my game management this season, which is something that also comes with experience.
In the past as a team we have struggled in these areas so it’s something that I’m really focused on — feeling the game at different stages, building momentum and then taking advantage of it.
Another factor in improving our attack will be combinations.
Things are still quite new with Josh Reynolds and Benji both at other clubs last year, so we’ve got a bit of work to do to iron out some kinks.
These things don’t happen overnight, but I feel like we’re getting better every week.
Grubby going before Round One was disappointing, but Benji’s come in and done a great job. The combination between the three of us is something that will continue to develop as we learn the nuances of each other’s games.
At the start of the season most teams are a bit rusty, but it’s important to pick up as many points as you can, which we have done.
As long as our attitude and effort to defence continues, I am confident things will continue to build from here.