THE Sydney Roosters have been sharpening the best defence in the NRL in the sand at south Bondi over summer.
Ever the innovator, Roosters coach Ricky Stuart has had his squad sweating it out in a series of early morning sessions at Sydney's most famous beach.
Not content with being the defensive envy of every other team in the NRL, Stuart has challenged the 2004 minor premiers to improve further in the defence department this season.
The North Queensland Cowboys are another team who also subscribe to the theory of improved defence by training in sand, with the now infamous sandpit in Townsville.
"We've used the sand at Bondi for the past four years, it's not something we do throughout the regular season but it's something we do in the off-season in regard to defence," Stuart said.
"We won't be resting on the stats that say we're the best defensive team over the past three seasons, we're looking to improve that part of our game further this year."
After informing the Roosters' Kangaroo tourists they could return to training when they felt refreshed and ready to play football, Stuart was pleased to see all three return by the end of last week.
Craig Fitzgibbon, Anthony Minichiello and Craig Wing have all begun pre-season training after returning from the victorious Kangaroo Tour of the UK and the US in early December.
The Roosters will be back in the sand this Sunday when captain Luke Ricketson, back-rower Adrian Morley, Minichiello and Wing attend North Bondi surf club to help out some of the local nippers.
The four Roosters stars will man the North Bondi surf club barbecue for the morning.