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Inside the Origin camp – Day 1

So I said I will would be bringing you all the news from inside the Country camp, and I thought the best way to do that would be through a blog. Read on and enjoy!

Day one, a very interesting time in Country Origin camp. Adrian and I had flown down the freeway on the way home from Canberra, and listening to the announcement of the two teams worked out that Country had the clear advantage there. Alas, injuries meant that there were plenty of changes even before I had got into camp at Potts Point on Sunday night. I had to delvier the good news to two of the Tigers boys, Chris Heighington and Tim Moltzen, who had been called in late. Yet, as more and more people were forced to pull out, changes were made. Finally, by 11pm on Sunday night the side was finalised, and all of the players (bar Michael Gordon who was with his wife and recently born son) were in camp. A fairly early night was needed with the team photo, training and a flight to Albury ahead tomorrow.

Breakfast the next morning had a slightly awkward feel, with a few players and myself introducing themselves to each other for the first time. The players had been out for a little whilst the night before, but it was only really the staff that were worse for waer. Snowy (Kade Snowden) came down, but before he even got the chance to hoff into some toast, Coach Daley called him over and told him the good news, he had been called into the Australian squad. He was in a visible state of shock, and whilst he had been lost to the Country side, everyone was overjoyed to see him get the opportunity. Before the van took off with all his gear in it, they had to haul it back, grab his gear, then rush around to find a new player. Dan Hunt would be the man, but he would only get to us just before the flight.

Out to the SFS for the team photo and a quick training run. This means the first media shot at the players, and my first real work. You can’t really call it much about work though. Just pulling a couple of boys out to speak to Fox Sports, so it wasn’t overly hard. Lunch after this, and listening to the coaching staff’s war stories. When you’ve got Blocker, Laurie Daley, Paul McGregor and Trent Barrett around, it is always going to be good fun.

We then made our way out to the airport, and jumped aboard the smallish plane down to Albury. Baz was out like a light before the flight even took off, but most boys had a sleep at one point. We arrived at the hotel and checked in to the hotel. I must say it was a pretty good effort for a rookie on a free ride to get his own room, but hey, I’m not complaining. Dinner last night was out at one of the local pubs, which sponsor the local footy team. This was a great opportunity to get to know to rest of the group, and and subsequently Coach Daley brought in the no phones rule.

At dinner I’m sat with the Doc, Matty Prior, Sowie and Dan Ferris. I hadn’t met Jamie or Matt before, and but had a bone to pick with Jamie after last year’s preliminary final loss. I gave him the benefit of the doubt after sitting across from me, and the first thing both of them did was introduce themselves, which was enough to impress me. The meals, of which close to 90% were steak, started to come out, with just me and Doc still waiting. I was pretty safe with a chicken parma, but after learning of the Doc’s order of Chicken Risotto, Matty, Sowie and Dan were on the attack. Led by Sowie of course, Doc copped it like you wouldn’t believe, and even more so when he had to put his hand up and claim it, lettuce leaves and all!

The coaching staff hung around after dinner for a few drinks, but the rest of us returned to the hotel in dribs and drabs. A great first day, ending with some stories on the laptop before bed. Start to get fairly serious tomorrow, but here’s hoping Day 2 is just as fun!

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