THE Maroochydore camp was a tough few days, but it was really good to get a lot of hard work done.

We worked really hard in the mornings and then had some of the afternoon to kick around with our mates and enjoy the trip.

I really enjoyed the training sessions and all the learning along the way.

The flight up

We flew up on the Tuesday morning and I pretty much just listened to music the whole flight – not too exciting.

I only learnt there was wifi onboard about 10 minutes before we landed so it could’ve been much more entertaining.

The mini bus

All the players got split into mini bus groups which was a bit of fun. I had Neville and Jonesy driving me around – they’re both pretty sensible.

We went to the supermarket a few times and headed up to Mooloolaba for dinner on the Thursday night.


I was roomed with Tim Smith, Steven May and Neville Jetta.

We were just kicking around in the apartment most of the time – it was pretty low key. There wasn’t too much mucking around going on.

We went down to the pool and the beach a fair bit and just chilled out, so it was quite relaxing which was good.

There was a bit of tension early though.

Maysie rocked up late on the first day so Tim Smith thought he’d take the double bed. But then Maysie got there and said, ‘Not a chance’. So Tim accepted that pretty quickly – he didn’t put up a fight.

Cooking arrangements

Me, Maysie and Tim Smith did all the cooking.

Nev reckons it was his time to get away, so he stayed out of it all.

We only did half a weeks shopping at the start of the trip, we just got everything we needed for the first few days and cooked that up.

We didn’t want to buy too much barbeque food because we thought we might get sick of it.

Training in the heat

We had three main sessions during the week up there and I was cooked by the end of them.

I found it really hard with the humidity. It’s really hard to get air into your lungs – it’s just different to Melbourne.

It wasn’t actually that hot, but it was the breathing that I just found really difficult, so it probably did me really good fitness-wise.

Underwater challenge

We did a bit of an underwater challenge last Thursday which was pretty good.

I came a fair way with my breathing during that session.

Before we started I couldn’t even swim 25 metres under water without taking a breath. By the end of it I was able to be under water for 15 seconds, then swim a full 25 metres, and then hold my breath for another five seconds at the end.

So we learnt all about the breathing techniques and how to be calm under water.

It was interesting to learn how to relax your body and get the most out of yourself – not just waste your energy thinking and worrying. You just sort of switch off.

Team bonding

We had Jeremy Dooley from the Reach foundation come along and help with some bonding activities.

We played some games and learnt a lot of new things about each other – there was a lot of personal stuff in there.

At the end of it we got a lot out of hearing from blokes that we didn’t know a lot about.

So we just got a much deeper connection from it.

We split off into little groups and talked about different experiences, what makes us proud and what a good day looks like for us.

We got onto a different level, because you can often just get caught up with footy talk, but we learnt a lot about each other.

Rotations sessions

Rotations involved a mix of things instead of just three hours on the track, but they were still really solid sessions.

We did a lot of boxing which was good. I’m in the David Neitz Academy group so we’re not as advanced as the other boys. We were learning a lot about the right boxing techniques, but it was still hard work.

And then we had upper body weights sessions which were good fun as well.

We did a fair bit of different stuff to what we’ve been doing at home. We had craft out on the oval and a few games which was fun, and then we had some physio sessions too.

Fellow draftees

All of the boys are going pretty well from what I’ve seen.

I have Aaron Nietschke and James Jordon down back with me, so they’ve been really good to work with. Us three are just learning at the moment, so it’s good to have those boys with me.

Just from watching them you can tell they’re going really well.

Tom Sparrow is flying as well. He’s really hard at it and runs hard both ways.

From VFL to AFL

I’ve definitely found there’s a big jump from VFL to AFL.

There’s a lot more hours at the club and it’s a lot more taxing on your body.

In the VFL you spend three or four hours at the club at night, but here you’ve got a lot more time devoted to you to learn about the game plan and all of that which has been really good.

You do feel a bit more buggered because of the long days, but it’s really exciting to be a part of an AFL team.