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Inside the Origin camp – Day 2

Day 2 has arrived, a big day in Country Origin camp. Gym work, coaching clinics, a field session and plenty of fun in between.

BULLA! The opening address from Aku was the perfect way to open the day, from probably the funniest quiet guy in rugby league. Everyone was pretty pumped at brekky, a good night’s sleep, the first full day in Albury and there was plenty to do. After splitting the boys up to backs and forwards, and the staff up as well, the forwards and managers got on their way to the clinics, whilst the backs and coaching staff went to the gym.

We arrived to about 250 young kids, our 18th man Mitch Aubusson, and a fair bit of local media. The forwards boys got stuck in, with Gifty exerting his power as skipper to start with the signing table. I was given a local journo and a couple of photographers to help out, and had to grab a couple of boys out to talk to them. Since they weren’t really getting much press, Heighno and Matty Prior got the working over from The Border Mail guy, who had some very interesting questions for Matty about the Tigers season so far.

As the backs got to the ground and swapped over with the forwards, we got the bad news about Menace, who was ruled out with a rib injury. A (relatively) local boy Ryan Hinchcliffe from the Storm was brought in, and we had to get on with the week. It’s a massive blow for us, and even bigger for Mick who wouldn’t get the chance to stake his claim for the NSW side for another week due to injury and a Doggies bye.

The backs got stuck into the young kids, and seemed extremely popular. They all seemed to enjoy themselves as well, playing around with the kids and teaching them some big skills. Aku got stuck in, and fitted in very well with the young ones. But by far the best part of the day was again owned by Sowie. As they were signing some things before leaving, a young kid got asking Sowie and Jarrod Mullen about themselves and where they play. Both of them were very good with the kids, and asked if he was going to the game on Friday, to which he replied to Sowie, “Yeah, are you going?” We now had a new target!

We returned to the hotel for some lunch, where we saw off Mick, who looked very disappointed to be going home. Over lunch the two managers attempted to sort out a room for Aubo, who was going to jump in Gifty’s spare room. Unfortunately Gifty didn’t exactly have the best memory, and 5 rooms later, Mitch finally got there. There was about 30mins free before a field session at the Albury Thunder’s home ground. It was a nice looking ground, and the surface was pretty good for a country ground. The boys were training before the club’s training so there were plenty of people around, one of whom was a highlight. He was a fairly big guy, with an old Aussie jersey thrown over his shoulder, and a t-shirt reading “I beat anorexia”. Blocker loved it, but he was a little less fond of him after he sat next to him and chewed his ear off for the majority of the session. The session was a pretty intense one, with none of the players holding back in defense. Not much dropped ball either, which is a good sign for Friday.

After we packed up and got back on the bus back to the hotel, with Hinchy waiting in the lobby for us. The boys had ice-baths before dinner, whilst the rest of us had some time off. The spread at dinner was excellent, including some lamb shanks, lasagna, and chicken, along with ice-cream and fruit salad for dinner. The shanks were extremely popular, with Matty Prior grabbing 4 and downing them not problem at all. A few of the boys hung around, whilst the others went up to bed, or to see Liz for some treatment. After most of the boys had either gone to bed, or quickly jumped down the the Woolies to grab some stuff, the staff were left downstairs for a few drinks. For anyone who has the opportunity to sit and listen to these guys, it is a great experience. Blocky, Laurie and Mary are all full of stories, and footy knowledge. Unf0rtunately Baz couldn’t join us. He had been to bed early after filling in Hinchy’s spot at training, and his knees were feeling worse for wear. After a while most of us were buggered and went up to bed, ending what was quite a good day, and one where plenty of good progress was done. Visit http://www.crl.com.au for a rundown on the footy clinics, and Heighno’s view on them.

See ya tomorrow!

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