2013: Ups And Downs

OUR recap of the previous Academy tours ends to today with the most recent – that of 2013.

Academy head coach Derek Traynor recalls an eventful trip.

My lasting memories of the 2013 tour consist of a big low and disappointment and a massive high. The big low point was in the first game we suffered our heaviest ever defeat on tour against a very big and experienced St George team. St George obviously got the age groups a little mixed up.

Even on that day there were some highlights such as watching James Nicholl and Joe Mc Loughlin stand their ground and not give an inch to lads about 20kg heavier than them and two years older. Also, the squad got to meet the New Zealand world cup team – Sonny Bill and Shaun Johnson were mobbed for selfie’s with the lads.

Then another disappointment followed with a loss at Central Coast; we thought there was a little bit of a hangover from the previous game and confidence had obviously been dented.

But after a very tough and encouraging training session at funnily enough St George, there was a feeling of confidence and self-belief returning. This was taken into the next game against Wests Tigers and the first victory of the tour was gained. But more importantly the lads had shown their true ability and were now looking forward to the last game against the mighty Penrith.

The Panthers game finally came around and playing at the Pepper Stadium is always a big buzz for the players. This was the massive high as the squad put on a great show and came away with a win. Danny Richardson was outstanding and scored three great tries and Dave Hewitt was pulling the strings and bossing the team around the field.

As far as tours go this squad had the worst record with two defeats, but they did show the most improvement and proved they could handle disappointment and work to turn their fortunes around.

It was also the youngest squad we had taken on tour also.

The one thing that still sticks in my mind is seeing Dave Hewitt’s big toe nail ripped off whilst white water rafting… note to lads make sure you pack your nail clippers.

As previously mentioned I have retired from this event after breaking a finger, badly bruising my foot, getting stuck in a whirlpool and being thrown about like being in a washing machine when I come out of the boat.

I feel I am getting a little too close to the nine lives for comfort.

Tourists:

1. Daniel Abram
2. Philip Atherton
3. Ricky Bailey
4. Tom Calland
5. Liam Cooper
6. Jonah Cunningham
7. Oliver Davies
8. David Eccleston
9. Lewis Fairhurst
10. Matthew Fleming
11. Liam Forsyth
12. Lewis Hatton
13. Kieron Herbert
14. David Hewitt
15. Morgan Knowles
16. Ross McCauley
17. Joesph McLoughlin
18. Ben Morris
19. James Nicholl
20. Daniel Richardson
21. Joe Ryan
22. Adam Saunders
23. Aaron Smith
24. Connor Smith
25. Jake Spedding
26. Bobby Williams
27. Chris Worrall

Results:

  • St Helens 14 v 60 St George
  • St Helens 16 v 30 Central Coast
  • St Helens 32 v 30 Wests Tigers
  • St Helens 20 v 12 Penrith Panthers

The Tourist’s View:

Matty Fleming: “I was really excited to go on the Tour – they play good rugby down there and the opportunity to play against the best was excellent.

“It’s also great to really get to know your teammates. You know them before you go, but being in the dorms together means you get to know them better. Then on the trips like surfing and white-water rafting you get to know them better.

“My advice is simple – just work hard and enjoy.

St George and Saints.

At the Sydney Swans.

Neil Kilshaw warming up.

Don’t they look impressed…

Matty Fleming and his Players’ Player of the Tour Award.

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