Meet the NSW Surge’ Rookies: Part One
For the defending Legends Cup Champion NSW Surge, an integral part of their offseason was training and developing a new crop of talented rookies heading into the 2014 campaign. This year’s rookies are committed, passionate and have been training hard, which has resulted in them being signed to the 2014 NSW Surge team; a true honor to be part of a budding dynasty.
It is an honor and a privilege to first introduce you to Jess Mancini and Jasmin Collins LFL fans.
For these two athletes it has been both a challenge and a brand new experience on the winding road to joining the LFL with the Surge. Both girls coming from different sporting backgrounds but yet both want to achieve great things with the defending champions. Here is their story…
“When I was younger I did athletics, netball and softball,” said Collins.
“I wanted to play in the LFL to try something new and to test myself and see what I’m capable of.”
“I have always loved my team sports and keeping fit and active,” said Mancini. “My sporting background was netball, playing state league for Fairfield District.”
Indeed, the LFL has been drawing women in from all types of sporting codes who want to leave their mark in a different game. With this, these women are quickly learning that it’s developing them into a whole new type of professional athlete.
“The reason why I decided to change sports was because I had played netball for many years and I reached my peak, I was seeking new and harder challenges and wanting to dominate a new sport,” Mancini said.
“That’s when I saw LFL and I was instantly drawn to the intensity, the athleticism and simply being part of something great.”
The off-season has been long and grueling. The amount of work they have put into learning the game of LFL both on and off the field while adding their fitness and gym regimes every week to make sure they are able to keep up with the returning veterans and prove themselves to the coaching staff is nothing short of admirable.
“My off-season training has been quite structured with three sports specific weights sessions.” said Collins. “One to two strongman sessions plus two football sessions a week, so it’s challenging to fit it all in with a busy work schedule but I make sure I get at least one rest day in there.”
“Offseason training has been grueling; conditioning our bodies for the hard hits, building strength and speed and endurance,” Mancini said.
“A typical work-out schedule for me would be my morning gym weight session, Monday – Friday before work, Monday night playbook and film review, Wednesday night Surge training and our three hour Surge Sunday session.”
Learning the game of LFL has been an eye-opener to how tough playing this game is. As far as physicality goes this game demands you to take a hit, get demolished and get up and run the next play as if it’s your first run of the night again. In Jasmin Collins case, she has learnt just how brutal the game can be.
“Before LFL I was like everyone else and thought that playing in pads was soft but now I realise it just means the hits are harder,” she said. “Since playing, I don’t think I’ve had a day where I’ve not had a bump or bruise.”
Jess Mancini stands at 5’8, 67 kgs and is training as a defensive end. She has learnt so much in her short time in the LFL, but what she has learnt has been an invaluable experience for both her skill set and is well on her way to becoming a menace off the corner getting to the QB and containing the edges.
“I’m becoming more fierce and aggressive while doing my job out on the field,” she said.
“To hold down the end and don’t let anything outside is a must while working on footwork and speed. My Focus is on explosiveness/first step quickness and acceleration/& deceleration work. Becoming stronger, getting a degree of separation from the blocker.”
Jasmin Collins who is currently practicing with the O-line has learnt much in her position. Collins who is 5’11 and weighs 81 kgs is a formidable figure to line up against on any defensive lines. She gives insight on learning the techniques, how mentally you need to be prepared and what it feels like as a rookie to learn a new discipline from scratch.
“It’s definitely made me mentally stronger. There’s so much to learn, you can be on a high after mastering a certain technique and then the next training session there’s a new one to learn and you feel like a newbie all over again. It makes it a lot more satisfying when you execute a play well though,” she said.
For both Collins and Mancini the opportunity to play along side so many acclaimed player’s from last season’s winning Surge squad is both inspiring and motivational. Even though the returning player’s have one season under their belt, they are viewed as seasoned veterans to the rookie’s.
“Playing alongside the vets has been beneficial for us rookies as we have players to look up to, get guidance and support,” said Mancini. “The intensity, aggression and game pace are set at every training session.
At Surge training we don’t talk about last season’s championship, we just focus on the here and now.”
Jasmin Collins echoes her Surge counterpart’s sentiments.
“Yeah it does, we all need to meet a certain standard otherwise we fall behind so it keeps us on our toes,” she said.
When you think about rivalries in Professional Football you certainly think of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens or the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. In the LFL it is no different; the Los Angeles Temptation and Chicago Bliss just simply don’t like each other, the same can be said of the NSW Surge and the Victorian Maidens. They played two heated contests against each other last year and Collins and Mancini are both humble and conservative in their approach regarding the match-up this season.
“I’ve definitely watched the games from last season but I have no predetermined thoughts or feelings,” said Mancini. “I’ll be out there to do my job on the field, focusing on the win no matter who is in front of me.”
“Yeah I watched all the games from last year and I guess it wouldn’t be the LFL without team rivalries,” said Collins. “It doesn’t phase me what team we play, my plan is to just go in and do my job the best I can for my team.”
What does a LFL player do with their time away from Football, Gym’s and practice?
“What I like to do away from football is definitely spending time with my Family,” said Mancini. “Coming from an Italian background, food and family time has always been a big part of my life.
She continues, “Summer time is my favorite time of year as I love spending my down time by the beach with a group of mates. That’s where you will find me.”
“I enjoy cooking and creating healthy recipes for my clients,” said Collins who is a personal trainer. “Strongman training and just spending time with friends and family.”
You can watch Jasmin Collins and Jess Mancini in action for the NSW Surge in October when they play last year’s Legends Cup finalists, the Western Australia Angels in WA on Saturday 18th at NIB Stadium.
First home game for the Surge is at Pirtek Stadium in Parramatta on the 8th, November. They will face-off against their rivals’, the Victoria Maidens.
Tickets can be purchased for their home opener HERE: