Here I am again back writing another blog. A lot of lessons have been learnt from my previous effort.
1. My grammar is not as great as I had once thought.
2. Never trust that my work will be edited properly.
3. Mark “Bumper” Andrews is in fact the High Performance Manager, not the Head of Strength and Conditioning.
It was shortly after beginning to write this week’s edition that I discovered I could not simply mention everything I did in a day, as that could get quite boring for everyone. Myself included. So it was suggested to me that I use this as an opportunity to air what ever was on my mind, but I fear this is not such a great idea. But we’ll give it a try!
Last week the Super Rugby season kicked off and started off with the Bye. Personally I would’ve loved to have got stuck in, but I figure now we’ve had a chance to observe the other Australian teams. Giving us an extra week of analysis and preparation before our big season opener against the Tahs in Melbourne.
On the back of some excellent 5 star organisation by Stirling Mortlock we were able to secure the Geebung Polo Club in Hawthorn to gather round the big screen and watch the Reds vs Waratahs. Fair to say it was the perfect example of the old saying “It aint over till it’s over”. Also it wasn’t lost on me the fact that many players were sporting beards…. I thought that was going to be my trademark for the year. Note to self: Find new trademark. Blue Mohawk? Maybe?
Our training week started early Sunday morning. A beautiful sunny day and after the session we had our first Family Fun Day! Initially I wasn’t too sure how many people would turn up, but hats off to the marketing team as I think almost 2,000 people came to join the fun. I started the day greeting people and handing out RaboDirect show bags, it was an awesome way to meet a few of the fans and their families. Next I went out on to the field to take some skills sessions. I found a couple of tackling bags and set them up and watched as the kids had the time of their lives sprinting 20 meters, bashing in to the bags. The funniest thing was it was the youngest of them, kids who were maybe 5 years old or younger who seemed to be having the most fun and repeatedly lined up for more. I must say I was taken aback when a man with his children asked if he could have a go. Keen to see what he had, I offered him a bag. I watched as his eyes pierced his target and then observed him put on the biggest shot of the day, I was extremely impressed with his technique. He turned to me and said “just like the old days”, that’s when I noticed him grabbing his shoulder in pain. I let him have his moment, although I’m pretty sure he popped his AC. But what the hell, I’m not a doctor.
It was also this week that we had the privilege of having Harold Mitchell speak to the players and coaching staff. After telling us of his humble beginnings and his subsequent rise to the top of the advertising game in Australia, there was one thing that stood out to me the most. It was his passion for success and simply how much he hated losing. It inspired me as I felt that Harold had a firm belief that we would succeed as a team, whether it be on or off the field. I’ve always wondered how Harold could be so involved with a sport that he has confessed to not know much about, but as he has constantly told us, he believes in Melbourne as a city and its people, and it will not allow us to fail as a team.
That evening was the inaugural Front Rowers Dinner. Held at the Imperial Hotel on Bourke St in the city, it was a chance for the brightest and best looking of the Rebels players to gather for a steak or two. Joining us were the two scrummagers of the week who through their efforts in the scrum were awarded an opportunity to dine for free with the Front Rowers. Luke “Merlin” Jones and Tom “Chainsaw” Chamberlain were the lucky recipients of the award. It was a great evening for all and a few laughs and stories were shared. Upon hearing about our illustrious event, Stirlo went ahead and organised a backs dinner. Steamed veges and chicken breasts I’m guessing.
So as I finish I look towards this weekend’s game with the Waratahs nervously, but still very excited about the challenge ahead. I know personally how far we’ve come as a team this pre-season, and I know that we are definitely not the same team we were this time 12 months ago. The disappointment of last season has become the catalyst for what I think will be a very successful season for the Rebels. Up the Rebels!
It was suggested to me last week on Twitter that I use this opportunity to answer any questions the Rebels fans had. Also its not a bad way to get the word count up.
- Kristy Johns (@thribble): Funniest moment from pre-season training?
The funniest moment from pre season training would probably be the first training session for K.B., Rabs, and Fanga. It was a strongman weights session and they had to complete the whole thing in their Playboy Bunny costumes.
- Ezra Taylor (@ezrataylor86ers): What would a lucky girl experience on a date with you?
Probably a night of awkward silences and bad jokes. But dinner and a movie is always nice. Thanks Wayne haha.
- Cimon Constantine (@cimon_c): Which Rebel can eat the most Pizza?
Although many people would think I am the favourite here, you’d be surprised to know that young half back Nick Stirzaker is a human landfill.
- W Hodge (@HodgieHodge): Pre-season scrum sessions and a few trial games surely don’t match up to Super Rugby scrum time. How does that affect your body?
As the season goes on your body can either adapt well and will continue to get stronger, or sometimes there are little injuries that make it harder to recover. Thankfully we have great trainers and medical staff who help us there, also it makes a big difference when you are pro-active with recovery and look after yourself.
- Carrie Davis (@ms_c_davies): Luke Jones’ thought of the day?
Why are they called Soap Operas when nobody sings in them?
Follow me on Twitter at @L_Weeks