WHEN the current Academy generation travel to Australia next Sunday they will know how much of a vital part it is of their player pathway.
More than 30 players from the previous four trips have played in Super League with a number carving out careers in the Championship too.
The likes of Paul Clough, Tommy Makinson, Greg Richards and Luke Thompson have all taken part in the experience.
And the old adage ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour’ couldn’t be more wrong.
It gives them skills memories they will never forget.
“It was good,” Paul Clough – a 2004 tourist said. “You were out with your mates raising money for the tour beforehand and working hard in the gym too. I have always said if you put the hard work in, you will get a lot out and I did.
“We had a great time over there, with all the activities planned and we also won every game too. But that was credit to the fitness and strength conditioning that we put in before we went.
“Once you are out there, you are with your mates every day, sleeping in dorms and training hard in the mornings. But you are let out in the afternoon to see the rest of the country. It is easily one of the best experiences of my life.”
Cloughie was part of the unbeaten 2004 team who defeated Wests Tigers, Chifley and Penrith.
“No one expected us to win our game against Penrith, that game was something else,” he continued. “It is a high standard over there. Over here if you are playing for Thatto Heath and Blackbrook for example, you get one, two or three tough games a year.
“The standard over there is a lot tougher, probably a little more professional in some aspects. If you go over there prepared then the players that step up to the challenge are the ones that will step up when they get back too. It is a good place to test yourself.
“I was lucky. I went from amateur, 18s, and then went away and when I came back, I went into the 21s. I was physically and mentally prepared for the next step.
“The whole tour gives you an insight into being like a full time professional – but if it was like that all the time, it would be great!” Clough concludes. “As a pro you have to be able to train hard and also relax so it does give you an insight.
“I didn’t realise how good it was until I got back. The way it was organised was perfect; there’s always something going on during the day. You never do the same thing twice.
“Just enjoy it, take everything in and you’ll remember the experience forever.”
Tourists since 2004
1. Steven Bannister, 2. Liam Bland, 3. Martyn Bradshaw, 4. Paul Clough, 5. Chris Donnelly, 6. Ashley Elsley, 7. Chris Frodsham, 8. Scott Holland, 9. Dave Lowe, 10. Nick Manchester, 11. Louis Menguy, 12. Dean McGilvray, 13. Scott Moore, 14. Tony Owen, 15. Andrew Parnell, 16. Jonathan Platt, 17. Nick Reddyoff, 18. Dave Roughley, 19. Andrew Stott, 20. James Walker, 21. Sean Weed.
1. Thomas Armstrong, 2. Karl Ashall, 3. Matthew Ashurst, 4. Philip Baines, 5. Jack Bradbury, 6. Matthew Clarke, 7. Scott Clarke, 8. Tom Colborn, 9. Tom Connick, 10. Jamie Dickinson, 11. Andrew Dixon, 12. Jamie Ellis, 13. Jamie Foster, 14. Gareth Frodsham, 15. Lee Gaskell, 16. Daniel Leach, 17. Owen Livesey, 18. Jonathan Lomax, 19. Steven Lucas, 20. Shaun Magennis, 21. Joseph Molyneux, 22. Robert Murphy, 23. Steven Nield, 24. Dave Sutton, 25. Warren Thompson, 26. Barry Walsh, 27. Martin Waring, 28. Mike Welsby, 29. Gary Wheeler, 30. Andrew Yates.
1. Nathan Ashe, 2. Marcus Baines, 3. Adam Barber, 4. Joseph Bate, 5. Jordan Case, 6. Liam Fishwick, 7. Carl Forster, 8. Jack Francis, 9. Thomas Fry, 10. Joshua Greaves, 11. Scott Hale, 12. Jordan Hand, 13. Daniel Hunter, 14. Thomas Johnson, 15. Daniel Jones, 16. Joshua Jones, 17. Ben Karalius, 18. Aaron Lloyd, 19. Thomas Makinson, 20. Jordan O’Neill, 21. David Pike, 22. Adam Tatlock, 23. Daniel Wakefield, 24. Anthony Walker, 25. Callum Welsby, 26. Stephen Yates, 27. Joseph Greenwood.
1. Brad Ashurst, 2. Chris Carr, 3. Alex Clare, 4. Jack Connor, 5. Lewis Charnock, 6. Mike Fields, 7. Lewis Foster, 8. Matthew Fozard, 9. Lewis Galbraith, 10. Jordan Heaton, 11. Adam Hesketh, 12. Corey Lee, 13. Jack Jones, 14. Ben Parry, 15. Mark Percival, 16. Greg Richards, 17. Tom Roughley, 18. Andre Savelio, 19. Mike Scott, 20. Nathan Skupski, 21. Dominic Speakman, 22. Adam Swift, 23. James Tilley, 24. Luke Thompson, 25. Jamie Tracey, 26. Chris Webster, 27. Greg Wilde, 28. Matthew Wood, 29. Daniel Yates.