Former All Blacks Sevens star Will Warbrick looks back at tools in Storm


He may have won an Olympic silver medal with the All Blacks Sevens team, but Will Warbrick has to go through the same rite of passage as every other young player in the Melbourne Storm.

Warbrick, 23, from Kawerau, changed codes and joined the NRL club for the next chapter of his career.

But there is a ritual Warbrick must follow, which Storm coach Craig Bellamy insists every new player does.

This week, Warbrick began the club’s two-week “work schedule”.

* Melbourne Storm confirms signing of All Blacks Sevens star Will Warbrick
* All Blacks Sevens star Will Warbrick set to sign with Melbourne Storm
* NRL: “I cried a little”: Why Melbourne’s Kiwi larrikin Brandon Smith burst into tears

This program sends all first-graders into manual jobs, such as digging trenches, painting, or moving concrete in wheelbarrows, while having to practice in the morning and evening.

The day starts at 5:30 am with two hours of training, then on a construction site and back to training for an afternoon session.

Ryan Hoffman says they only want good people at Storm and already knows Will Warbrick is one of them.

Cameron Spencer / Getty Images

Ryan Hoffman says they only want good people in Storm and already knows Will Warbrick is one of them.

It’s a far cry from touring the world in the World Rugby Sevens Series, or winning a medal for your country in Tokyo, but that’s the Melbourne Storm way.

“I’m back on the tools. Thought I broke, but I’m back on the tools,” Warbrick joked.

“But it’s okay, that’s what I did a few years ago, before qualifying for the seven. I was working, doing my own training programs.

“But I understand why they do it. Supporting work with some of these trainings is going to be a good test on the mind and say goodbye to some sleep.

“It’s a good reminder for me. Sometimes when you are in an environment you forget what you have, ”he added.

“It keeps you humble, you have to work hard and it gives you discipline. “

Storm’s director of football operations and former Warriors captain Ryan Hoffman said there is a long tradition within the club of players following the work schedule.

Will Warbrick has been tagged as the next Josh Addo-Carr in The Storm.

Cameron Spencer / Getty Images

Will Warbrick has been tagged as the next Josh Addo-Carr in The Storm.

“It’s something every Melbourne Storm player does. It’s a rite of passage to be a Melbourne Storm player, ”Hoffman said.

“The boys sit in the locker room and tell their stories when they were on the shift schedule and it’s great for these players, once they’ve done that, to be able to add their stories. It makes them feel that they are part of the organization.

“It’s something Craig started a long time ago. Rugby Union players are in a very privileged position to be able to play a game for a living.

“We need them to understand that it’s a great job, but there are jobs that are a lot harder, that are done by great people and if they want to be a rugby union player, they have to realize how good it is. It also shows a lot about the person.

“Thirty years ago, that was what rugby union players did week after week.

“They were on the tools during the day and trained at night. So it’s really great for them and it shows respect for the privilege that we have. “

Warbrick has been billed as the player who will replace Josh Addo-Carr at Storm, which puts considerable pressure on someone moving up to the league.

But he has the size, strength and speed to do well in the NRL and Hoffman is optimistic about his future.

“We only want good people at the Melbourne Storm and Will is definitely one of them,” he said.

“He went straight into training very early on and comes from a very successful New Zealand rugby sevens organization so we have high hopes for him and he hasn’t disappointed.

While the code swap does happen from time to time, going straight from Seven to League is unusual.

But Warbrick said he played in school and sports were important at Kawerau.

“I knew that by starting this year, I was coming to the end of my contract at seven,” he said.

“With Covid, I thought it was a good time to talk to my agent and for him to take a look and see if there were any other opportunities for me in the union and the league.

“So he contacted several clubs and one of those who responded was Melbourne.

“We started to communicate more about it and that was fine with me, so I took the opportunity.”

Warbrick was part of the All Blacks Sevens for two years, making their Cape Town debut in 2019.

While with the team, the World Series of Seven have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and he says he left the team with mixed feelings.

“If it hadn’t been for Covid, I would have experienced more of the World Series,” he said.

“But because of Covid, it pushed back the Olympics for a year and gave me time to develop myself and work my way up to a place on the team.

“It’s unfortunate that Covid happened when I was trying to leave my mark there, but at the same time I still experienced unreal opportunities and been to amazing places.

“I’m grateful to all the people there, the players and the coaches, and I always stay in touch with them.

“So it was a good time. I felt like it was going fast.”


Previous Ronaldo, Lukaku, Ramsdale, Gallagher: who is the best signing in the Premier League this season?
Next Brighton faces competition from Manchester City for Ajax star