Our Saints Academy head on their 2019 Tour of Australia next week and ahead of the trip we gather the thoughts of Mark Percival who reflects on his time on the 2011 tour.
The 2011 squad returned home undefeated.
In the process they amassed 112 points at an average of 28 per game, whilst conceding a total of 56 points at an impressive 14 per game average, writes Neil Kilshaw.
However, there was much more to this trip and I believe on this tour we took the most naïve (that’s putting it kindly) bunch of players.
Now I don’t want to name names so instead I’ll list some of the conversations and comments we heard:
“If there’s no kangaroos around here what do the lions and tigers eat?”
“Why is it called a set of six, when the referee only gives us five tackles?”
We had several players waiting patiently in a queue for ‘left handed paddles’, when Tommy Martyn gave them some advice!
And my personal favourite was overhearing this:
“There is no oxygen in the air.” (Naturally my ears pricked up, and the conversation continues…)
“You only get oxygen in an ambulance or at the dentist.”
(Then I piped up) “What do you breathe out then?”
(Reply was better than I could ever have imagined)
“You breathe out photosynthesis.”
(Where do you go from there?)
On a serious note, performance wise, the 2011 tour really set the marker for future trips. We played against two very good sides in Cronulla and Penrith.
In Cronulla we kicked off at 3pm in searing heat and it’s testament to the physical conditioning and personal preparation of the players that we handled the conditions much better than our counterparts.
From that trip Adam Swift, Mark Percival, Greg Richards and Luke Thompson went on to become Super League Grand Final winners.
Andre Savelio established himself as a Super League regular too whilst Lewis Charnock, Alex Clare, Lewis Foster, Matthew Fozard, Lewis Galbraith, Corey Lee, Dominic Speakman, James Tilley, Jamie Tracey, Greg Wilde and Danny Yates all played at a senior level – and some still do.
So whilst it’s difficult to truly say which tour has been the most significant for Rugby League given the merits of all the trips, 2011 will always be up there!
1. Brad Ashurst
2. Chris Carr
3. Lewis Charnock
4. Alex Clare
5. Jack Connor
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
St Helens 26 v 6 West Tigers
St Helens 36 v 14 Central Coast
St Helens 30 v 22 Cronulla Sharks
St Helens 20 v 14 Penrith Panthers