- Valynce Te Whare arrived at pre-season training overweight
- The 23-year-old has struggled to keep his weight under control
- Wayne Bennett has sent him to a boot camp
Wayne Bennett has told Valynce Te Whare to shed the kilos in order to save his NRL career after the Dolphins cult hero arrived at pre-season training overweight.
Te Whare, 23, has been stood down from Dolphins training and sent to a personal boot camp in a desperate bid to get his weight under control.
He will spend a fortnight with hard-nosed training Mark ‘Chopper’ Burgess in Brisbane’s humid heat.
Te Whare enjoyed a superb 2023 campaign and became popular among fans due to his bullocking frame and personality.
Yet supercoach Bennett fears the youngster’s ballooning weight could ruin his burgeoning NRL career.
NRL cult hero Valynce Te Whare has been told to lose weight if he wants to play footy
Wayne Bennett said his player returned to pre-season training overweight
Te Whare finished the season weighing 125 kilograms and piled on another 4kg during a weekend on the eve of the pre-season.
Bennett has had enough and ordered his player to get back into shape, with patience wearing thin.
‘I’ve sent Val away to get fitter – that’s the situation,’ Bennett told News Corp of his star whose contract expires at the end of 2024.
‘He came back to pre-season way too heavy and too unfit to play NRL at that body weight.
‘He is doing no ball-work with us at the moment, our priority is to get him fit, so I’ve asked ‘Chopper’ Burgess to help out.’
Burgess is a highly-regarded conditioner and has worked with some of Australia’s top stars. The 63-year-old was a former Australian amateur boxing champion and has served as a VIP protection officer for Bill Clinton and Peter Beattie.
Burgess has got Te Whare training twice a day, including daily boxing sessions and runs in Mount Coot-Tha’s steep hills.
‘At this level, you can’t carry too much extra weight, not the way the game is played now,’ Bennett said.
‘You can’t hide out there – you need a huge amount of fitness to make it in the NRL.
‘Val reminds me of Dave Taylor (former Broncos and Queensland Origin forward nicknamed ‘The Coal Train’).
He is training with renowned conditioner Mark ‘Chopper’ Burgess
‘Those guys are big men, you put them in a weight room and they just have to look at weights and they put on size.
‘When Val played in the State League grand final the year before (for Redcliffe in 2022), he was 114kg … he finished this season at 125kg.
‘Val needs cardio training to get his weight under control.
‘If we can get him back to that weight (114kg), I’ll be happy with that and then he will be of more benefit to the team.’
Bennett has defied calls from some quarters to rip up Te Whare’s contract and believes his player can still offer good things for the club.
‘We think he can play,’ Bennett added.
‘Val did some good things for us last year, especially seeing he hasn’t played a lot of league.
‘If he comes back to us in better shape with more weight loss, it’s more manageable for everybody.
‘We know he can’t make it if he’s too unfit and carrying too much weight, but I believe Val can be a real asset and we’re trying to get him to that place.’