Academy Tour – Day 18

Today we made the short ride up Mulgoa Road to the Penrith white-water stadium for the much anticipated white-water rafting session.

Day 17 – Thursday October 26

The morning on the man-made course, constructed specially for the Sydney Olympic Games, has given us fond memories that are always looked back upon with a smile, writes Ian Talbot.

From Tommy Martyn losing his six fingered shoes (as described today by one staff member), to Andre Savelio with his helmet on back to front, Derek Traynor’s cramp and Dave Hewitt’s toenail, this activity is always a firm favourite and this one didn’t disappoint.

As ever, the guides started slowly, lulling everyone into a false sense of security, taking it easy through the first few laps… but just when everyone felt comfortable the real test began.

The experts knew exactly what to do to control the boat and more importantly, how to throw the lads overboard!

Bodies were soon falling (or being pushed, mainly by Kilshaw) out of boats left right and centre, Josh Simm and Brandon Scully with two of the most acrobatic exits as they were thrown into the ‘washing machine’ and left to survive the ‘drink’.

Luke Maloney-Ward started in the boat but at the first sign of waves he soon jumped out and walked away, soon to be joined by staff members Richards and Ryan!

But to be fair, Craig and Shaun had spent more time in the water than in the boat!

After lunch we were the guests of the Penrith Panthers at their new state of the art training centre.

The Panthers SG Ball (under 18s) coach Ben Harden gave us a guided tour of the very impressive facility where no stone was left unturned when they built the $25m complex.

Wherever you turned there was a reminder of the past glories, what it means to be a Panther and you could feel the real sense of pride in the club.

The boys then knuckled down and switched on immediately at the training session that followed. The visit seemed to focus the boys and further reinforce the size of the challenge when we face the Panthers in two days’ time.

To kill some time before dinner, quizmaster Traynor asked the boys questions about the tour and their observations so far. Some of the questions were tough but some of the responses were unbelievable.

Question: How many km of coastline does Sydney have? (A fact highlighted on one of the activities)
Evan Bullen: “What is a coastline?”

Question: What is the name of the river in Penrith?
Tom Nisbet: Tyne

Some of the comments have to be heard to be believed and they continued long into the night.

When walking back from dinner, John Hutchings was discussing how he is not looking forward to the cold when he gets home. Getting confused with hypothermia, he said to Derek: “It won’t be funny when I come to training with rigor mortis.”

The comments from the lads have always been a source of entertainment for the staff on all tours and this current crop have not failed to deliver.

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