David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

NRL: Warriors Gubb learning how to harness the 'red mist'

Warriors' front-rower Charlie Gubb has taken the advice of the club psychologist to help maintain his discipline and focus on and off the field.

Gubb credits the help of leading sports psychologist and former All Whites captain Dr Ceri Evans for improving his playing mindset after his raw aggression and unbridled enthusiasm saw him wasting his energy and running the gauntlet with referees.

He realised he was becoming a liability by involving himself in plays when he wasn't required and that his take-no-prisoners full-throttle approach would be difficult
to maintain.

With the help of Evans and coach Andrew McFadden he has found a balance and says the mental skills coach has taught him how to better cope with the pressures of playing in the NRL and life away from football as well.

"Ceri's our psychologist who I see as often as I can," said Gubb. "He's been a big help for me.

Just with dealing with the pressures and the expectations of others. Also, in everyday life, he changes the way I think, which is good.

Watch: Shaun Johnson talks to media ahead of Saturday's clash against Manly

Video

"I get the 'red mist' coming over me [during games] and I forget about things I've been taught. It definitely has to be more controlled aggression from me and not overworking, going from one side of the field to the other. I just need to stay in my channels and that will help the team out a lot if I'm not getting tired and having to come off.

"I talk to Cappy [coach Andrew McFadden] about it a lot. If he sees me at training getting worked up, we talk about ways that I can change my mindset so I don't get like that but also have the aggression."

The 25-year-old has also worked hard to adjust his defence, after his shoulders began feeling the toll of his kamikaze approach to tackling. This season he has been surprising opposition ball-runners with his new and highly effective around-the-legs-style.

The change has also helped to keep Gubb out of hot water, after two wayward shoulder charges in last season's round 25 match against Wests Tigers led to a four-game suspension.

He returned for the round three clash against Melbourne, and has been one of the Warriors' standouts in their victories over the Newcastle Knights and Sydney Roosters.

"I got a lot of stingers last year so Cappy and [defence coach] Justin [Morgan] changed my technique because my shoulders were getting damaged just from flying in," said Gubb. "We've changed my technique with where I have my arms, so it feels better.

"I just try to have a good tackle selection, I can go high or low. It's still effective [low] and it's like my default now. When I'm tired I tackle like that, which is a good thing."

Watch: Andrew McFadden talks to media ahead of Saturday's clash with Manly

Video

McFadden is pleased with the changes in Gubb's game and says his revised defensive technique is paying dividends for the side.

"It's something we've worked on in the pre-season because it's just highly effective," he said. "He's really showing the way in the intent stakes. You see that with Charlie every week, his low contact drops the players really quickly, so we want to have the full bag of tricks.

"Sometimes you've got to lock the ball up, particularly on different individuals, but sometimes the best way to get someone down is to cut them in half."

- NZ Herald

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