Wellbeing a concern for NRL return: Pearce

Pamela Whaley
Newcastle's Mitchell Pearce says the wellbeing of players will be priority for the NRL restart

Newcastle skipper Mitchell Pearce says a big challenge for NRL clubs will be managing the wellbeing of players and adapting to preparation curve balls as the game navigates a season restart.

Ahead of Wednesday's return to training, Pearce said as a captain, his priority is to make sure his teammates are coping with restrictions set out in the biosecurity guidelines.

The guidelines were developed in part by his father, league legend Wayne Pearce, who heads the NRL's Project Apollo.

While the NSW halfback has not pressed his dad for details, he says the club and his teammates are committed to doing anything to restart the season on May 28.

The 31-year-old is recently engaged and has been spending time with his partner Kristin, but can appreciate the various difficult circumstances facing his teammates.

"There are obviously challenges and the wellbeing stuff is a challenge, but everyone is in different scenarios," he said.

"For me, I just got engaged so I get to spend time with my fiance at home so it's not too bad at the moment for me, but I also understand situations for my teammates, where they've got their wives at home with their young kids while they're at training.

"It's obviously going to put a bit of stress on their relationships, possibly.

"These are all things that as a captain and as a club, I'm sure the club will keep checking in and I'll be sure to keep checking in on my teammates to make sure everyone is dealing with it ok."

The Knights started the NRL season with back-to-back wins over the Warriors and Wests Tigers and sit second on the ladder heading into the revised season.

Training will be adapted according to government imposed guidelines, and Pearce said the Knights will need to train at the highest possible level to rediscover their form quickly.

"We've earnt (those four points) and we've got that advantage to start and we'd like to start as fast as we can and get out of the blocks," he said.

"How does that work? I think the training and preparation needs to be great from as soon as you walk in the door to the first game to give yourself every chance to start fast.

"This year there'll be different curve balls with preparation than there has been in the regular season for however long I've been playing.

"I think the way you manage your game days, the way you manage your preparation mentally going into games without crowds will have a big bearing on how you play."