Tigers and Panthers…

THE latest from Saints Academy’s Tour of Australia.

Mike Rush, Head of Youth Development, writes…

Day 3

The players don’t get any better with the questions… only today we had one of the best conversations we have ever had at the end of a training session.

You need to take a minute and picture we are having a Captains Run out near Penrith (St Marys) and the session is starting to come to an end.

We are surrounded by what our kids consider ‘bushland’ and all have been on the lookout for Kangaroos when young Mark Percival entered the conversation.

“Do you think there would be crocodiles in that pond?” I replied “No I don’t think so pal…” I was already at this stage laughing to myself.

“I hope I see some animals while I am in Aus,” says Mark. “I want to see a Lion, a tiger or a panther.”

At this point most of the lads were in laughter and Mark still looked at me as if to say what is wrong.

I then tried to explain that Lions and Tigers don’t live in Aus and I thought I had covered the explanation well, but wait for it.

“Who chases and kills the Zebras if there aren’t any Lions in the desert?”

The main part of the day was spent in Darling Harbour with the staff and lads having some time to walk around the city and harbour. Once again the players have been excellent and the training sessions have been as good as ever.

The players have a big game on Friday with a game against the Wests Tigers who have always given us fantastic games in the past.

So not to make this sound like only the kids are lacking in common sense one of the coaches today has a moment also…

Derek Traynor had his own moment in the sun with “How much do you think the $10 (dollar) steaks will be this year?.”

Leo as quick as you can replied “$10 (dollars)”

You really do have to be at full concentration at all times on this trip as one wrong word will be picked up on and hammered by ten others.

I hope to be writing to you soon with good news on the playing front; the lads are keen as ever to play and one thing is for certain they will give it their best.

Enjoy the pictures



Day 2

Common sense – what happen to this with the Y generation kids of today.

While on the way to Manly for a kayak I decided to ask the lads whether any of them needed a left handed paddle. Expecting the lads to all answer with a mouthful of abuse I was greeted with seven players with their hands in the air. I didn’t say anything in the belief that the lads would point out to each other that they didn’t exist.

To my surprise this didn’t happen and Mark Percival who only in the morning had claimed to be one of the brightest in the group asked the lady in charge did she have any left handed paddles followed by two other members of the group.

The lady then tried to explain to Mark that they didn’t have any; Mark was heartbroke and looked at me as if to say what I can do…… I then asked the lady to take the paddle from Mark and give him his left handed paddle and stop messing about with him, she then took the paddle turned it upside down and gave it back to Mark.

Some five minutes later Mark had a moment of inspiration and realised he had been done.

On the way back to the hostel we had a chat about left handed equipment that was now on the open market such as pencils to help kids learn to write, pens etc. The lads now believe you can get left handed paint brushes, hammers and other DIY equipment.

So that Mark doesn’t feel on his own, the other left handed members who had their hands in the air are named below:

Andre Savelio, Ben Parry, Lewis Foster, Jamie Tracey, Adam Hesketh and Jack Connor

The lads today took on the challenge of two training sessions; one in the morning and then one in the evening and again performed fantastic from start to finish in both sessions. The evening session was undertaken at the home of the 2011 NRL winner Manly and gave the kids a little look at the venue of the Premiership Winners.

As a reward for all their hard work so far and the fact that not one player has put a foot out of place we have been able to get some tickets for the Aus v NZ game on Sunday and so we will be in attendance for the first game of this year’s Four Nations; yet another great experience for this year’s touring party.

Today has been a testing day for the lads with the bus breaking down on the motorway on the way to Manly; the lads acted in a manner which was more than pleasing to see and from 1 to 29 dealt with the situation with a mature and grown up manner.

As if breaking down once wasn’t bad luck it again happened on the way home on the replacement bus which had come to our rescue not hours earlier. It wasn’t too as the kids and staff got to tackle a big belly busting burger for tea. Mr Kilshaw our resident food expert also joined in the burger challenge which just goes to show he is a closet junk food fan just like the rest of us.



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