Academy Tour day’s 16 and 17

From scuba diving at Shelley Beach to white water rafting in Penrith, read what the boys got up to on day's 16 and 17 of their Academy Tour of Australia!

Day 16…

We headed over to the picturesque Shelley Beach in the morning, which is tucked away at the end of Manley beach for this years scuba diving. There was a sense of relief upon arrival when the scuba school had actually been booked and were waiting for us!

As ever, this was an outstanding activity, enjoyed by most, with Shay Martyn stating: “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done!”. To be fair though, Shay also thought “It smelt like Subway under the water” and asked the question “who would have thought that you could breathe under water for so long”?

Making the most of our time on the beach were Zack Lee, Harry Brooks and Harvey McDaid, who were enjoying playing in the sand, throwing a ball around and building sandcastles 🙂

We then hopped onto the bus for the ride to St Mary’s for today’s long training session and it was time to re-focus for the last tour fixture. More individual video review also took place on the journey down. Mini-skills, wrestle, tackle technique, ruck defence, edge defence and goal line defence were all boxed off before the lads did their individual extra skills. Credit must go to the boys who are really taking the opportunity to stay out on the field after training to work on their individual games.

The usual evening routine again took place with dinner at Panthers Leagues Club (the ‘Chicken schnitzel’ was popular as ever) before we hit a few more balls on the Aqua Golf Range. Daniel Moss has to be mentioned for his perseverance with the golf club – he has come a long way in the last week and can now actually hit the ball!

Day 17…

We started another busy day with the short bus ride down to Penrith Whitewater Centre for the eagerly anticipated white water rafting.
The whitewater centre was purpose built for the Sydney Olympics – a 320m whitewater course full of turns and spins which always throws up lots of laughs, and today didn’t disappoint.

Even trying to get into the boats proved too tricky for our physio, Charlie Wilton, who slipped on his backside and sat sulking like a baby! The first few circuits of the course for all four boats were calm, the instructors leading the way and everyone managing to stay inside their boat until, tormentor-in-chief, Neil Kilshaw (fresh out of his sick bed) kicked into gear…..

Just as Cole Appleby relaxed and felt comfortable, the heavy handed Kilshaw helped him to exit the boat before he, like many before him, was thrown around wildly like ‘tumble dryer’ and was spat out at the bottom, wondering what had just happened…!

This opened the floodgates and it soon descended into chaos, bodies being pushed and thrown everywhere, with Kilshaw and his accomplice, Ste Marsh being the main villains!

Some of the lads, including Owen Blackwood (in the video above), Shay Martyn & Jamie Pye, spent more time in the water than in the boat. On the flip side, Lewis Dodd and Harry Brooks were immovable objects and never left their boats whilst Tom Lyon made the most spectacular fall ever!

As his boat approached one of the obstacles, Tom, who was sat at the front with his back to it, simply fell out backwards, with a tumbling back flip and disappeared under the water!

As each activity passed, the lads enjoy each one more that the last and this again has to be up there with one of the best (funniest) for all of the staff observing at the side, as we enjoyed watching the panic and fear on the faces of every lad as they were thrown into the raging waters!

There was just enough time to get showered, dried and fed before it was across to the Penrith Panthers Training Academy for a guided tour of their very impressive facility.

The modern venue, with its two pitches, large gym, changing rooms, lecture theatre and much, much more is said to be one of the best, if not the best, in the NRL.

To finish the day it was across the road to Panthers Stadium as the boys trained in, what felt like the hottest temperatures since we got here. The boys stuck to the task though and trained very well as we started with mini-skills grip, pass and catch, then covered some edge attack, yardage carries, stonewall carries before fine-tuning some of our scrum attack ahead of Saturdays big game.

‘Outback’ steakhouse for dinner followed before another session of aqua golf to finish the day once again!

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