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Getting comfortable being uncomfortable stems from top for Jillaroos

When the Jillaroos coaching staff presented players with the motto of "getting comfortable with being uncomfortable" before last month's pre-season camp, what followed next was not part of the manual.

The saying was designed for players as they look to defend their World Cup crown in 2021 and face fears they never thought they would encounter, not the proposition their 2020 campaign could be affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

During the recent camp, some players confronted a level of anxiety around swimming, while others took the plunge and tackled their fear of heights.

The group were also put through an ice and breathing therapy session by Nigel Beach, who is an official for the Wim Hof method designed by extreme Dutch athlete Wim Hof, in a bid to test players in a different way.

The four-day camp at Kokoda Barracks in March feels like an eternity ago for players now but behind the scenes staff and players continue to navigate their way through the pandemic with ways to keep in touch.

An extended Jillaroos squad will be joined by Australian expert Dean Mannix on Thursday in one of many web seminars staff hope to organise to keep preparations ticking over.

Jillaroos forward faces her fears

Mannix specialises in a range of topics from mindset, confidence and motivation, financial and competing.

"It's going to be a talk around resilience and we've also got a mentor program coming up," Jillaroos fullback Sam Bremner told NRL.com.

"It's so awesome and humbling to be still given these opportunities when you look at how everything currently is in the world.

Jillaroos Tiana Penitani, Keeley Davis and Kirra Dibb at the boot camp.
Jillaroos Tiana Penitani, Keeley Davis and Kirra Dibb at the boot camp. ©Jason O'Brien/NRL Photos

"You've got our entire coaching staff practically stood down yet they're still communicating with us and making sure we're OK and getting things organised.

"There's an unbelievable amount of time and effort that goes into us as a team and individuals. We never want that to get lost in where we're trying to go as a team."

For the Jillaroos coaching and high performance staff, which includes assistant coach Jamie Feeney, strength and conditioning coach Simon Buxton, a recent break with their employment was not going to halt their commitment to preparing players for next year.

"We've had a focus on the World Cup for an awfully long time, pretty much as soon as the 2017 World Cup finished," coach Brad Donald said.

"We've never lost sight of that. The girls are really active in terms of staying connected and keeping their motivation levels high for each other.

"We want to get through this time as better people as much as we want to become better athletes.

"We always want the Jillaroos jersey to be left in a better place and in these times it's about showing leadership."