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A man with Fiji at heart

Elenoa Baselala
Monday, November 06, 2017

THERE is one person that the Vodafone Fiji Bati players would not want to mess around with.

He is the other Mick in the team.

But he is as important as Mick Potter, the coach.

Mick Reid nicknamed Reidy (pronounced Rrrayydeee) by the players is the team's strength and conditioning coach, forwards coach, wrestle coach, at times team manager and he also looks after the team's dietary requirements and the GPS units.

Journey with the Fiji Bati

"I joined the Fiji Bati five years ago. It has been incredible journey. I have supported a lot of teams but this one is special because of the team spirit and the bond they have, the brotherhood," he said.

Reid monitors the GPS unit, which is attached to the back of the players' jerseys and provides critical data on the performance of the players.

"It quantifies what they have done during training, it gives me a scope of what the players did at training, their heart rate during the length of the training period," Reid said.

With the information, Reid would be able to inform Potter on how long the training session should be and also on how each player is performing during training and gym sessions.

Apart from his many roles, Reid rules with an iron fist when it comes to team rules.

Former captain, Wes Naiqama knows too well how hard Reid can be. In 2013 during the RLWC, Naiqama arrived late to camp after his birthday celebration.

Reid gave him a one and a half hour workout.

"I was hard on him and even the coach Rick Stone came out and told me to stop. But it's tough love, that's how I instill discipline."

A number of players have copped the brunt of being late. Three players had to wrestle until they could not any more for being late and this week young Joe Lovodua was made to wear a pink swimsuit and pink tights during training sessions.

Lovodua was chosen by the team as the "Doce of the week" for breaking a few rules.

Balancing act

With the long RLWC campaign, Reid has to ensure the players are in their best forms for each game.

"We have to let them recoup, we have to make sure there is balance and there is communication between all players and all coaching staff.

"It's a give and take, I need to inform the coach and the players inform me how they are feeling.

"And we implement that with the physiotherapist, we do that constantly with the players, we need to have our recovery on time.

"We need to give players plenty of time to gain a lot themselves and enjoy a lot of time.

"It's a pretty important part of being in a long camp like this- giving players their own space and getting away from each other.

"With this group it's so different because we do a lot of bonding and it is a good thing."

While he is the good and bad cop in the camp, Reid says he never makes players do something he can't do himself.

"Even though I am twice their age, I expect them to do it all," he added.

And he would happily wear the pink swimsuit if he has to for breaking a team rule.

"If it comes to that, I am no exclusion, I'll happily wear it just to give the players something to laugh about."

Fiji at heart

Reid is also known as the white Fijian and sings all the Fijian hymns passionately.

So much so that even his five year-old-daughter, Mahali thinks herself as a Fijian.

"She has told her daycare that she is Fijian and she has all the Fiji Bati gear," he says.

"I brought my family to Fiji and they absolutely love it."

Reid also has "family" within the Fiji Bati side.

He has known winger Akuila Uate since he was 16 years old and says, "We have gone through a lot together." Reid has also coached Kane Evans when he was a Junior Kangaroos and the Saifiti twins, Jacob and Daniel.

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