Week 6

Monday night I had training with Prahran.  I really feel like I’m getting into a groove with training and my kicking is improving.

Tuesday night I had training with the Uni Blacks.  I did some training with the seniors and the fog was incredible.  We did some kicking drills with anywhere from 20 to 40 meters separating the groups and it was impossible to know who was kicking to you or who you were going to.  Those are the joys of a Melbourne winter I suppose. The pace of training with the seniors is definitely beneficial to improving my skills in a game situation.

Thursday I went into Etihad Stadium for a tour of the AFL headquarters with Peter Romaniw who organized the tour with the World Team.  I was lucky enough to meet a lot of really cool people.  Among them were Kevin Sheehan, a talent scout (more like ‘THE’ talent scout) and creator of the TAC Cup, Peter Schwab, a former player and coach who became head of AFL Victoria and writes for the AFL website, Geoff Gieschen, the head of umpiring, and Chris Johnson, 3 time AFL Premiership winner and coach of the World Team.

I got to see the change rooms and also walk out the race up to the ground for a ground-level view of the place.  It was incredible to view the stadium from that perspective.  Afterwards I made my way over to training with the Blacks 19s on the tram.  We didn’t have great numbers but we did some light touch training anyway.  Saturday I had a game with the Uni Blacks 19s.  We played Old Scotch in a pretty fast-paced game.  In the third quarter we made a really good comeback and thought we may have had a chance to win, but Scotch took the ascendancy again in the last quarter.  The thing that hurt about that loss was that we knew how they were beating us, but failed to stop it like we had in the third quarter.

After the game Steve Cerni let me keep the shorts I wore for the game, which was a great gift.  The blacks have pretty nice gear so I was pumped about that.  I presented him with a New York Magpies jumper to say thanks and just thanked the guys for having me.  I want to take this opportunity again to thank the Uni Blacks, Steve Cerni, and the boys with the 19s for having me and making me feel like part of the club.  I think Patty made some sort of comment about being mentioned in the blog, so there you go, Patty.

Sunday I watched some of the footy in the afternoon.  That night Hannah’s team, the Pandas, had a basketball game in a not-so-serious rec league.  I started off as the only spectator in the gym, but soon assumed the position of coach.   I believe my input was invaluable (probably more like, not-so-valuable).  Afterwards I made a pretty silly decision considering camp with the World Team would start the next day.  I had talked myself up a little telling Han that I could dunk, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to play ball with a few locals and see if I still had it. It all worked out well in the end: we won, I wasn’t injured, and most importantly I dunked twice.  I should thank the Polar Bears for letting me play with them, too.  They were great fun and actually really good. When we got back home Kes’s family was there to celebrate her birthday with a lovely dinner, a rousing happy birthday song, and just an enjoyable get-together.  After dinner I had a kick in the backyard with Kes and Rob’s nephews and niece: Hugh, Henry and Ava.  Since I was the biggest one there, the duty of “kneel down and let everyone try to take speccies on your back” was mine.  I had a really good time with Kes’s family and they are a lot of fun to hang with.

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