Port Adelaide Scholarship 2003 – Ojas Desai

Ojas Desai during Port Adelaide scholarship Ojas Desai during Port Adelaide scholarship
Ojas Desai – Juice’s Journal
Juice’s Journal

Sunday, March 2

I arrived in Adelaide and was picked up by Paul Belton, the CEO of the Port Adelaide Magpies, the New York Magpies sister club based in the South Australia League (SANFL), and his family. I am staying at their house. They drove me around the city, showed me some sights and also the Port Adelaide Magpies training facility and locker rooms. Its nice to see such beautiful footy ovals everywhere. I had an interview with “The Advertiser” (Adelaide’s main/only paper) and met one the Port players. Its a pretty relaxing day after that, just watched the Wold Cup cricket, slept and ate.

Juice game 1Monday, March 3

Slept close to 15 hours and woke up, and cruised the beach around the Belton’s house and saw some local sites. Tonight was the 1st training session and after arriving and meeting some of the players, I was thrown right in. After an initial 20min run and some handball lane work, we did a length of the ground drill – it involved a kick from the back 50m line through to center half fwd, and then hands to a player who either kicks a goal or kicks down a leading full forward. These guys are awesome, every kick is on the money. Almost a quarter of the guys training here have AFL experience (the SANFL is one level below the AFL) and two of the coaches have played AFL for a long time (Matthew Knights from Richmond and Darren Meade from Port Adelaide Power). To end it, we did some specialty position work. I went with the backmen and were we taught ways to defend different attacks coming from up the field, and then setting up different ways to move the ball upfield from fullback. Essentially I didn’t do too bad, my hands are good, but the kicking here is amazing and the game is very fast, but I am here to learn.

Tuesday, March 4.

Cruised downtown a little bit. Its nice, like Kansas City with some Cali steez. Took in some sights did some touristy stuff. Before training today I had an interview with Channel 7 here in Adelaide and! they also took some footage of me practicing. I also did a radio interview with the local sports station. Everyone is really curious about football in the states and shocked to hear the amount of teams and how quickly the game is growing. Practice started off today with a handball game (pretty much a game of footy without kicking) and I did well at this. Then we did a long kicking drill to leading targets. It was setup like a rectangle and you receive a kick, then hands off to a running player who kicks the ball up the field. This was tough for me and I had a couple of mongrel kicks.

We ended with lane work handball and kicking for about 20mins. I have been doing more practice work with the reserves side as the A side (Seniors) are really good. Training ended and I come home, ate and slept.

Wednesday, March 5

Have no footy today so I went to the gym. This place was considered nice but compared to gyms in the states I thought it was sub par. After that we went around to Henley Beach and Glenelg (another yuppie beach town) with Rebecca, Jess (Paul Belton’s daughters) and their friend Lisa. Had a couple of beers and chilled. Came home, ate some barbi and watched the news and saw myself on the tele, which was pretty exciting. Then went to see the girls play net-ball. Its not bad but basketball is better.

Juice game 2Thursday, March 6

Today I hung out with Lisa and she took me to a museum and downtown a little bit, we also got a behind the scenes tour of Football Park (“Footy Park” to the locals), the home of the Adelaide Crows. We saw the Crows facility and met their CEO (sorry Slater), one of their players also recognized me from the news, which was pretty cool.

Had lunch and then later off to practice. Started off with the 3 man weave handball drill but had two guys with pads checking in the middle. That was fun and again with hand balling drills I am fine. Then we did a 5 pt kicking drill around the goal square and 50m line. I did better today but had a couple of bad kicks. Finished off with lane work hands and then a lane work kicking drill with an emphasis on backing up. I also got some sh#t from some of the players for being on TV after 3 days in Oz.

Friday, March 7

No footy today, but had another interview with a local paper and also got to see the Power train, these guys do everything Pato says, playing on, talking, shepherding etc. It was nice to see. Later in the day a couple of the guys from the team took me around town to the Universities, to the Adelaide Hills, and to the mall to look for women, which was fun. Came home ate and went out with Rebecca and Jess to some pubs. I got recognized while I was out at a bar, which was cool, but I didn’t go out too hard as we have a trial game tommorow, though I will just be an observer and not playing.

Saturday, March 8

Today was a trial game vs West Adelaide. I am just here to observe and go through the motions with the reserves side and see how they go. There is the initial warm up and motivational speeches and also the coaches tell us their game plan. We head out on to the oval and warm up and do some hands and kicking. We start off well and the Port boys are ready to play. Its only a trial game but the intensity is awesome. Near the end of the game, they tell me to loosen up. Shocked! was my reaction, but ready to go. I line upon half back flank and stick with my man, though he ends up scoring a goal off a loose ball. Not bad, it was good to get a run however. I was in for a minute or so, but just happy to get in. I should get a few minutes next weeknd. We then stick around to watch the seniors play and t hey do really well also. Port has a good side this year and ! the A side looks good.

After the game, I come home, eat up and relax as I am going to the footy tonight, Adelaide Crows vs Kangaroos (sorry Slats, Chucky). I end up sitting in the Magpies box and had a great time, watching the game. It was close and fun to a cross section of Aussie people. I saw dudes with mullets and fancy, city yuppies sipping wine during the footy. It was great to see the skills on these guys, and they are some big dudes. After the game I just go home and sleep, its been a long day.

Sunday March 9

Wake up at 7:30 and go to a recovery session at the pool. Just some jogging in the pool and a couple of laps. It was an easy session, but just a hassle to wake up. I go through that and go home to sleep. Later in the day I wake up and see a local baseball club with Rebecca and her friends. There are not bad talent wise and are like an above average high school team in the USA, though one of their players played with the Atlanta Braves single A team. That was fun and after that I went for a 5 mile beach run and worked on my kicking a little bit. After that, just watched Big Daddy and went to bed.

Juice game 3Monday March, 10

Today, I went into the downtown area to do some shopping and to cruise around a bit. Called my parents and my sister and just enjoyed the nice weather. At training tonight we starting off with shuttle runs. This was tough it was 2 mins on and 2 mins off and we did it 5 times. I held my own and it felt good to get a tough workout. Then we went into some handball work, and next moved onto a drill where one player takes a mark from half forward flank and quickly plays on and kicks to a bloke running up the ground from the goal square or a bloke run down from about Centre Half Forward. It was a good drill and my kicks were pretty good. From there we did a basic triangle kicking drill and then practiced goal kicking. At the end Darren Meade (one of the coaches) reviewed how the back-men did during the game, which finished it for the day.

BTW there was a drive by shooting at one of the night clubs and some of the players gave me sh#t about it saying I brought some NY attitude to the nice, quiet country town of Adelaide.

Tuesday, March 11

Today I checked out the West Lakes mall. It was like any US mall, but was something to do. At training today we began with 20 x 20m sprints, starting off in different positions like standing, sitting, and lying down, which wasn’t too difficult. Then we did the handball game I described last week as it is a great way to get ready to train. From there we progressed into a 5 point kicking drill with 4 of the groups around the 50m and the other group at Full Back, which we performed with with 3 balls.

We then split up into 2 groups, with the A side and few of the better reserves doing some 18 on 18 work, while the rest of us worked on our hands and kicking skills. That was it for the day and then I went home and watched the cricket for 6 hours.

Wednesday, March 12

Pretty slow day, went to gym, ate, watched TV, took a walk, watched more TV, saw the Belton girls play netball. A very exciting day.

Thursday, March 13

After waking up, I had like 5 mile run and then ate and relaxed for while. After cruising around the beach I went to training, where we again started with the handball game. We then played a handball keep away drill, where two groups of 3 people line up across each other and try to keep the ball away from 2 blokes in the middle trying to take it away. Finished with long lane working kicking emphasizing backing up and talking. Later that night I watched the footy show and then lights out.

Juice game 4Friday, March 14

Today is the big day – I will be hanging out with Jeff Farnham. After cruising the city for a while, I met up with Jeffa and went to see his son play cricket while we were drinking some VB’s. Then Jeff and I grabbed dinner at his Dad’s restaurant and then went out to a few bars. It was a pretty dead night so we made it an early one as there were no women around.

Saturday, March 15

Trial games today, but I can’t play in them for a variety of reasons. So I hung out in the stands with the injured guys and others and watch both games. Port Adelaide was beaten both times by Central Districts, one of the better teams in the South Australian competition (SANFL). Port did, however, have a lot of injured guys. The game was played at Port Elizabeth, an industrial area filled with a bunch of Australian Jerry Springer wannabes. Later in the evening we watched the Wizard Cup Grand Final (the pre-season competition for the AFL) where the Adelaide Crows beat our sister AFL club, Collingwood. After that I went out with! a few of the boys on the team for a wild night out. I got home at 6:45 am. More details to come as soon as I get them.

Sunday, March 16

Today, I worked with Jeff Farnham at his Dad’s restaurant at the Norwood Food and Wine Festival (Norwood is a suburb of Adelaide). I worked for about 9 hours straight serving beer to thousands of drunks. It was a great festival lots of booze, food, great weather and hot women. Not a bad way to spend the day and get paid !

Monday, March 17

Hung out with Jeff and his family during the day and then he gave me a ride back to the Belton’s place. It a hot day in Adelaide today, around 90-95 degrees, although luckily it’s not humid. Training tonight starts off with shuttle runs, 1.5 mins on and 1.5 mins off, and we did 2 sets of 4. Feeling pretty tired, we went into simple handball work and then some more complicated handball games eg. two people and two footies; then one person in the middle and with 3 blokes around him and 2 footies. Following that, we went into a quick goal kicking drill.

Finally, we split up by position and talked about the game over the weekend. I stuck with the backmen and we listened to Darren Meade review our performance on the weekend. After training I worked out a little bit and then I was back home.

Juice game 5Tuesday, March 18

I went to the downtown Adelaide area and checked out a couple of more museums and got a haircut. It was hot again – closer to 95 today. Training was physical today, starting off with the handball game, and then moving on to a full ground drill, This drill involved taking a kick at Full Back with 3 guys running forward, who were being pressured by tacklers, with their goal to move the ball out to the Half Back Flanks or to the wing. These players were then to continue to run and provide options as the ball moved upfield eventually to Centre Half Forward or Full Forward before kicking a goal. This was a tiring drill because after running the length of the field you only just made it back to Full Back in time to do the drill again.

Finally, we ended with a tackling game. 4 blokes in the middle and 4 lines on both sides of them who try to play a handball keep away and not be tackled. This was fun and I held my own in the tackling. The players said I looked like a little Gridiron player in the drill and that they liked my 2nd and 3rd efforts and that I wasn’t scared of throwing my body into the mess of players. After training I stayed up and watch the cricket and went to bed late.

Wednesday, March 19

Once again off to the gym today to lift after waking up late from cricket. It was another fairly dull day, I then watched some tele and went to the beach. I then went for a run and just sort of hung out.

Thursday, March 20

Today I went to the Clipsal 500 with the Port Adelaide statistician (Mark). It was like the Daytona 500 in that it is only big in Australia (as Daytona is only big in the US)and not so much on a global scale. It was just a practice day and a good chance to see the cars up close and see them on the practice runs. The crowd was an interesting mix but it was a fun day. While there I ate 2 yiros (gyros)and had 2 VB’s; luckily though training will be light tonight as there is a match tommorow.

At training, we started off with some light half pace sprints and then went into lane work kicking. Then we a 3 point drill around the 50 m line, with one group in the goal square, one at half forward flank, and the other group at Centre Half Forward. The kick came from the goal square and was marked by the blokes at Half Forward Flank who then hand passed to the guys running down from Centre Half Forward, who finished the cycle by kicking a goal. We varied this up by also having the guys at Centre Half Forward swap from marking the ball to occasionally punch the ball to ground and having one bloke crumb and then hands off for a goal. That was pretty much it for training, as it is game day tommorow.

Friday, March 21

I caught the train to the city and cruised around for a while. I went to the Art museum and walked around the University of Adelaide. Today is the last trial match vs Woodville. Its local Friday night footy a nd its a nice atmosphere; it felt like Friday night high school football in the US, with the town coming down to watch their boys play. While Port Adelaide lost both games, they were trial matches with players out of position and injured, and the team looks ready to go for the season.

After that I went to the Port club and had a couple of beers. I met some “interesting” people there who were kind enough to buy me brewskys – can’t say no to that.

Juice game 6Saturday, March 22

Off with the Farnham clan to Port Victoria to do some fishing. Its a small country town in South Australia where people go to relax and fish which is what we did. Very much a small country town feel to the place. I caught no fish or no women as the bar was 8 guys to every 2 old women. At least the beers were cold.

Sunday, March 23

The next day we went to Moonta, which is a bit nicer town but similar to Port Victoria. I caught a squid which was huge and enjoyed the nicer weather as it was freezing in Port Victoria. We then headed off and went to a BBQ at Papa Farnhams. Had some wine, ate the fresh squid and watched the Cricket World Cup. No problems here trying to find the game on the Tele. It was a nice relaxing weekend.

Monday, March 24

Woke up at Jeffa’s place after the weekend and just chilled and watched television. Later Jeff and I came into the city and just walked around as he had a couple of errands to run. He then dropped me off and I hung around by myself before catching a train back.

At training today after warming up, we started off with 40 short acceleration sprints. You start by jogging 10m then sprint for 20m. Some of these you jogged sideways or backwards before doing the sprint. Then Darren Meade took us and we did hand pass drill. There were 3 lines, two pretty much facing each other and one group line up behind one of the groups. Meady kicked the ball to one the groups who got the ball handed off the the opposing group who then passed off the the 3rd group who tried to create a new angle by going out wide.

From that we went into a kicking drill to a lead. After taking a mark around Centre Half Forward we would then play on and kick to a bloke leading up from Full Forward. Finally we finished up with a similar drill this time, with a Full Back playing defense. He stood about 7-10m up the ground to cut off the lead from Full Forward and try to force a high kick that could be punched. After training I lifted and then jogged home.

Tuesday, March 25

Today I went down to the central food market in Adelaide. It’s in the center of the city and has lots of fresh produce/meats and baked goods for sale. It also has a lot of places to eat and has a great variety of food options. I took a trip around the world, food wise, at some Turkish and Vietnamese sweets, some Italian rolls, some Greek olives and had lunch at a Thai place. It was good fun.

Training today started off with simple lanework kicking to get the legs warmed up. Then we went into the whole length of field drill I described last week, where you start off at Full Back and end up trying to kick into Full Forward. Finally we just did a handball drill with 3 lanes on each end facing each other and 3 guys in the middle with pads hitting them as they went through. That’s it for today, I lifted after practice and headed off.

Juice game 7Wednesday, March 26

Again its a day off. So I went to a local oval (it’s so nice to be able to walk and do that) and worked on my kicking. It was good to do this because I need as much repetition as I can get. After that I watched some tv and headed off into the city. I am meeting Jeff and his wife for dinner tonight at this great Indian restaurant named Jasmin. After a very dinner we headed to a local pub Jeff used to frequent in the 70’s and had some Coopers. Then we split and I headed home.

Thursday, March 27

Today I went to the Migration museum here in Adelaide. It was great to learn about the stories of immigrants who came to Australia and in particular South Australia. Definitely felt like I came away with some knowledge after that visit.

Training tonight will be light as the boys have their first game tommorow night vs arch rival Norwood. Again, we started off with lanework kicking, then did a quick drill practicing different types of attacks on kickouts. This was done by grouping in the middle near Centre Half Forward and then coming up with an attack plan against either a zone or man on man. We ended with a 5 point handball drill which we do at training ourselves in NY. Thats it for that as I will be in Melbourne tommorow. Looking forward to that.

Melbourne, Friday to Monday March 28-31

It was all a blur and the days overlapped so I will just summarize.

Got in at around 12 on Friday arvo and took a bus to the city and then caught a cab to Port Melbourne where I will be staying with one of Pato’s mates (Nappa). I got settled in and then took a walk around the area and saw the beach and ate at a local cafe. I am going to the footy tonight at the MCG to see Richmond (my new team) vs Collingwood (our sister team) It was a great atmosphere with 61,000 at the MCG, but with the southern stand missing the wind was hell on kicks. I went to game with a mate of Pato’s (Faichs) and one of his mates Matt. We were the coalition of the willing as I was from the US, Faichs from Australia and Matt from the UK (Wales). At the game, I ate two meat pies for dinner because I felt like I had to. After the game which Collingwood won, we went out. First we went to a pub right off Punt Rd in Richmond and then we hung out in St Kilda till like 5 am. Pato’s mates can sure booze and they all said the same thing about Pato, that being he doesn’t party hard and that he is too responsible.

3 hours later I get a call from Wayne Campbell saying he is going to pick me up and take me to Richmond’s recovery session. I am not taking part as I am very hungover, I will just be watching and sipping water. It was cool to meet some of the guys from team and see what they do after game days. After the session, he dropped me back and I slept off my hangover.

Sometime Saturday afternoon, I got a ride to downtown where I walked around for a couple of hours and saw Federation Square, and walked around the Yarra River and saw some other sights. Then I took the tram back to Nappa’s place, which was an experience on its own. Back at Nappa’s I watched some footy and then went for a run. This was a good way to work out and see some sights and the local talent.

Once I got back, we got ready to head out. We ate some Thai, watched some footy and then went out with Faichs and Matt to Fitzroy St to meet up with other friends of theirs. It was a very cool area with plenty of bars and cafes. We boozed it up and then went to a club where Nappa knew the owner. There we danced till about 6 am before heading out.

Woke up at 2pm on Sunday and had some food. Then after having watching more footy we went to a local pub where Nappa’s buddies were playing in a band. Drank at the pub from about 4 – 9:30. It was a good, relaxing Sunday session which helped bring the trip to its logical end. We then ate some Hungry Jacks (Burger King) and then headed off. The great Melbourne trip was over and the next morning I was back in Adelaide.

Juice game 8Monday, March 31

Came back from Melbourne and arrived back in Adelaide. I took a long nap and relaxed and got ready for training. Today is a tough day. After warming up we do some running around the circumference of the two ovals. We start off jogging, then up to half speed and then up to three quarter speed and then back to a jog. At the end of the lap, we set up a tackling dummy where one bloke would go thru and tackle the dummy and sprint back to the group. Within the lap, there were 4 times where we changed speeds. We did this for 5 laps. This was a tough exercise in general but considering I had a lot of booze from Melbourne still flowing through my system it made it even tougher.

After that, Matty Knights spoke about looking to always play on and giving support to whoever takes a mark. We did a couple of drills where someone would take a mark and then quickly play on to someone running past them. He emphasized how you have to bust your arse to get into the vision of the mark taker so he can hand pass the ball. That was it for training as the Maggies had their first game two days prior, which they lost to Norwood. After training, I lifted some weights and then headed back home.

Tuesday, April 1

I went back into Adelaide city for what will be the last time. I walked around Rundle Mall and Hindley St and the North Terrace which is the best area to people watch in the city. I took a couple of pictures (figured I had to). After eating and surfing the net I headed back home and got ready to train at the 2nd to last training session. Started off with a warm up. Started off with a drill we have done in NY in the past. This is where we ran around in a large circle with a 2 or 3 footies where you had to use your voice to get the ball and you were always looking to keep running and trying to practice playing on. We did this with just hands and then we used a larger circle and added kicks also. I noticed my kicks getting better and felt more comfortable calling for the ball. After doing that we went into some 18 v 18 game style work and then called it a day. I lifted after training and then headed back home.

Wednesday, Apr il 2

Up early this morning as I am going to Barossa Valley today with a travel group that caters to backpackers. We met in the city at 8 am. On the tour bus there were the two female guides, a Japanese chick, one chick from Austria, one chick from France who looked exactly like Corey Feldman and one cute American chick from Cali. We drove through some beautiful countryside and got to the Barossa. While there we went to a few wine tastings and I learned a lot about S.A. wine. We had a BBQ lunch where I ate some Kangaroo and then went to some more wine tastings. I bought a couple of bottles and enjoyed the day. It was cool to meet some people from different parts of the world and drink with them. I also really enjoyed the wines and began to appreciate wine a bit more (Before this I was a High Life or Pabst Blue Ribbon man). Eventually, we got home and I thought it was a good touristy thing to do and something I wanted to do for a while.

Thursday, April 3

The last day in Adelaide is upon me. I woke up early and went to an early training session. I got a bit of one on one with Matty Knights and then did some extra kicking work. After that I did a bit of weights and then went to the Magpies offices. I saw their facilities and then went home to relax for a while.

This being my last day, Paul Belton and his wife Dee took me to the Mclaren Vale wine region. While there we had some more wine and went to about 4 wine tastings. I feel like I have become a bit of a wine connoisseur and it was nice to spend some time with the Beltons. Eventually we got back home and I got prepared to go to training with some wine floating around my stomach. This would be the last session.

Before the session I got a bit of send off and the guys presented me a guernsey for me to take home. This was a light session being that it was before game day. We again started of with the same the circle drill from Tuesday and then went into a 5 pt kicking drill around the 50m line. Then we went into lane work kicking with 3 people – one kicking, one as a back up and one person to run past for hands. Finally, we went into a five point handball drill and then called it a day. That is the end for me. I said my goodbyes and chatted with some of the players. These guys are serious about their football and don?t go out during the week so that was the last time I would see these guys. Later in the evening, I went out to a local pub called the Ramsgate with Pauls daughter Rebecca and some of her friends. It was a good night I made some new friends and helped prevent a fight between some dumb yobbos. I also drank a lot of Coopers Pale on the tap. We got home at 1 and that was it in Adelaide.

Friday, April 4

After saying my goodbyes to the Beltons I hopped on a 7 am flight to Sydney. I got into to town at 9 am and was at my cousins place at 10. I was really tired so I slept and relaxed for a while. Later in the evening after dinner I took the train into the city and met up with Guzzs mate Rob in Wolloomoolloo bay. I had a few drinks with him and his friends and met some drunken rednecks from Queensland who loved me because I was an American and because they consisdered I was fighting the Iraqis. Eventually the night ended and I went to Harrys Cafi de Wheels ate a pie and went home.

Juice game 9Saturday, April 5

Today my cousin took me to Bondi beach. We hung out there and had some food, its a nice beach but I heard people say its a bit touristy. After that, we drove to the Gap (not the store) and saw some beautiful scenery of the ocean, the cliffs and Watson Bay. Sydney is absolutely gorgeous and everything I have heard about its beauty is true. Then we went to Doyles at Watsons Bay and had some fish and chips and a couple of beers (Tooheys of course since I was in Sydney). Later in the evening we went home and had a BBQ. In the evening we went to a local pub called the Epping Hotel and had a few drinks there before calling it a night.

Sunday, April 6

Today I went out to the Rocks market and bummed around Sydney. I cruised around the Harbour Bridge area and Dawes point and then went to the Opera House. I also took a bunch of pictures finally. I then took a ferry to Manly Beach, which was an awesome ride. There was great scenery and lots of pretty women ready to get nekid on the beach. Manly is a lot better than Bondi and it was fun to cruise around and people watch while I was there. Later I got back to the city and just walked around but it was 5 on a Sunday and things were starting to close so I hopped on a train and headed back.

Monday, April 7

Today I went to Darling Harbor. Its a very nice area with good shopping and lots of bars and cafis. It seems like a great area to party at night. However for me it was about 11:30 in the afternoon and I was by myself so I really didnt experience much of the partying. After eating lunch with my uncle downtown I walked through what could be considered the Greenwich Village of Sydney. The area was called Paddington and it was on Oxford st. It is a very fashionable area but it was an interesting walk with lots of trendy shops and cafes. Later I walked around Hyde Park and near the Australian Museum before calling it a day and heading back home.

Juice game 10Tuesday, April 8

I went shopping downtown to the Pitt St mall and bought some gifts for some people. Then I went on a Pub crawl by myself. First, I went to the Hero of Waterloo and had a beer there. Its a quaint nice pub that goes off on Sundays. Later, I went to the Lord Nelson, which is the oldest pub in Sydney. It was a nice spot to go and I had a beer and lunch while I was there. After that I went to Observation Hill and took some pictures while there. Later I found an outdoor exercise area and did some pull-ups and dips before I took a walk over the Harbour bridge and went to North Sydney and hung out there for a while. I had another beer at the Kirribilli Hotel and then walked back to downtown Sydney. Another long day was over and I headed home.

Wednesday, April 9

Today was an awesome day because I went surfing for the first time in my life. I woke up at 6:15 and got to Manly around 8:30 for my surf lesson. After an initial lesson on the sand we w ere ready to head out. On the first wave, I was able to stand and it was quite a thrill. We were out there for about 1.5 hours and I loved every minute of it. I have wanted to go surfing ever since I was 13 and it was awesome to live out my dream. The instructor Adam said I was a natural at it. I just hope I can keep up with it and at least surf occasionally. After that I hung out with Jane who is Matty Bs friend. She took me to some more beaches. We went up to Newport Beach and had lunch and a couple of beers at the Newport Pub. Then drove up to Palm Beach, which is an area for the rich and famous. While there we hiked up to a lighthouse and got a great view of the ocean and the bay with a strip of land in between. Then we got some ice cream and I went back to the city. Then I left and went home as it was a long, tiring day. That was pretty much it for Sydney.

Thursday, April 10

I had a 2 pm flight back to NYC so I did some shopping at a local market and then headed off to the airport. Then about 20 hours later I was in New York and my great Australian adventure was over.

Final thoughts and thanks:

First I want to thanks the Magpies – both the New York Magpies and the Port Adelaide Magpies. Without them I would never have had the opportunity to travel to Australia like I did. Getting a chance to play football in Australia was a great experience and one that I will never forget.

The biggest thanks has to go to Paul Belton and family. They took me into their home and made me feel like family. I am very grateful for that. Next, I want to thank the players and staff of Port Adelaide who were so nice and helpful that they made feel like part of the club.

I also want to thank Jeff Farnham and family. Jeff was obviously huge in setting up the scholarship and was good enough to show me around a bit while I was out there. I also have to thank Pato. Besides for helping me with all the little things surrounding the scholarship he was huge in setting up my accommodations in Melbourne and then with my final radio interview with 3AW in Melbourne. Also, I have to thank Guzz and Gary for helping me some of the financial aspects and details of the trip, and finally thanks to Chucky for some helpful advice before I went to P.A and I guess for founding the club.

My favorite things about Australia:

Weather, footy, Four n twenty pies, beaches, yiros, women, wine, BEER (especially Coopers on tap and Tooheys New) pubs, beetroot and shredded carrots on sandwiches

Things I wasn’t a fan of:

Pizza here sucks, there is not enough sauce (not ketchup) and it just plain stinks and I had it in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. Jeff knows all about this complaint. Ready made sandwiches on baguettes. I hate that, its so European, plus there wasnt enough meat on it. Aussie TV shows, most are pretty bad, no wonder they get some many US shows. Rugby League, I saw some on TV in Sydney its not too exciting.

Once again thanks and I cant wait to get going in NY with the Pies.

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