Week 7

Monday morning Rob took me down to Trinity College to meet the team for our week-long camp.  We trained in the afternoon and it went pretty well considering I could only remember about 5 or 6 names.  Just looking through the list of names and countries of origin for the team I was pretty impressed.  Canada, South Africa, Ireland, Scotland, Turkey, Lebanon, India, Japan, Sudan, Sierra Leone, USA, Pakistan, etc.  A lot of distance had been covered by all of us and now we were expected to become a cohesive unit in just two weeks.

Tuesday morning we had a game at Arden Street versus the u15 Indigenous Allstars.  Their skills were really good and many of them had pace to spare.  In the end we won pretty comfortably and in the process got the first win in the World Team’s history.  Later on we went to the EJ Whitten Legends game at Etihad Stadium.  It was awesome to see so many of the game’s greats out there including our own coach Chris Johnson playing on one field.  One of the highlights was Anthony Rocca’s bomb off two steps from about 75 meters going though post-high.

Wednesday we took a tour of Carlton and did some recovery in their pool.  I think they spent something in the range of $4,000,000 on their facilities so we were really fortunate to get to use them.  We had a little team building session afterwards where different guys volunteered to tell their stories about who they are and how they got into footy.  Then they would take a few questions, the most common one being “What was your first game like”? coming from Abe Kur every single time. Afterwards we had a light training session.

Later on we took a tour of the MCG and spent some time in the museum where they have games and cool historical guernseys, boots, footballs, etc. That night we watched the u18s state team of Vic, SA, and WA play at Etihad.  I think seeing these games helped me appreciate how big AFL players are considering just how fit and built the u18s were.  Thursday we trained at Arden St.  We saw Andrew Swallow, Majak Daw, and Drew Petrie and got to take a few pictures, which was pretty cool. Later on we went to the live screening of the Marnbrook Footy Show.  Cyril Rioli Jr. was the special guest and it was a pretty entertaining show.  I enjoyed seeing how one of these shows works live and what goes into it.

Friday we flew to Sydney and then took a long bus ride to our hotel in Rooty Hill near Blacktown.  Saturday we trained at Blacktown Olympic Park and after watched Vic Metro v WA and Vic Country v SA.  There seems to be a big gap between the size of players in u16 and u18, which is probably a testament to the step up in training and commitment to footy that a lot of these players take as they get older.

Sunday we had our first game of the NAB u-16 Championship against Northern Territory.  Despite being down by 17 points at 3-quarter time we managed to win 89-73.  You would have sworn we won the Grand Final the way we celebrated.  I was happy enough with my own performance, preventing my opponent from being too effective in the forward line.  Apparently Andrew Demetriou saw our post game song in the locker room, which somebody took video of, so I think we are actually having an effect on the perception of international footy.

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