Updated: Feb 17
With summer '22 heading in to February, a Saints football camp was as sure a thing as Tommy Purcell's car being due for a solid clean out.
After being temporarily suspended from the hills of Burwood in 2021 due to our running training embarrassing the, at the time, Olympic hopefuls, this year the Saints found themselves on the Golden Sands of Portsea and Sorrento.
At first glance while passing the Saints, one could have been forgiven for confusing the morning session for a year 8 PE lesson, as the team took part in one of the more vicious games of dodgeball the locals were likely to see. No love was lost between family members, with Maggie's head taking a real liking to a ball, courtesy of a well aimed, fiercely thrown shot from Katie.
S Cameron was certainly well trained at keeping the drills ticking over (much better than any of the coaching staff during the week!) and after a series of obstacle courses involving all sorts of weird and wonderful tasks, including blindfolds, she summoned the squad to the foot of the dunes.
As the squad looked at what lay ahead, they were unlikely to be able to see their finish line, given the height of the dunes that lay ahead somehow reaching through the clouds, despite there being no clouds. The older members of the crew, who shall remain nameless, but were certainly the ones watching, not running, spoke of the legacy that these very dunes had on Australian Olympic glory. As the story goes, Herb Elliot, in between being CEO of PUMA, a board member at Ansell, Deputy Chair at Fortescue Metal Group and winning Olympic Gold, he would run these very dunes.
Whilst Herb has a list of impressive achievements, he may have a couple of contenders nipping at his heels, with the likes of Abbey Bloom running up the dunes in full conversation, at speed and with a smile on her face. It was as sickening as it was impressive!
Finishing off the endurance session was a beach classic straight from the surf lifesaving handbook, Beach Flags, but with footballs as the item to reach. It was a long and gruelling event, with numerous bumps, dives and, for some reason, human pyramids.
Lisa Ring was kind enough to open her house for the club to use and all were grateful for this extremely generous honour, so grateful that most were actually on their best behaviour. The lunch spread was second to none, with Tommy Purcell, as all good fathers tend to do,
mentioning that it was far better than anything that one could get at a restaurant. Have to admit, he was right.
After an afternoon of team building and getting to know you events, the squad made their way to the Sorrento Hotel. Clearly in need of our business, the Saints dug deep and emptied their wallets across the bar,with many Aperol Spritz's being consumed.
What happens after dinner can remain in the memories of those that were present, but I definitely heard a few of those tracks coming from downstairs, as we made headway on a cheeseboard, that you only hear small snippets of in reels/snapchats, like that one that goes da da da da da da, da da.
Thankfully there were plenty of clear heads in the morning to enjoy a breakfast spread fit for royalty while watching one of the Saints make her debut in the VFWL (sorry to the others playing, running up a hill did get in the way of watching yours!
An enormous thanks to the two Lisas (Ring and Ginies) for organising so much of the weekend and to our fantastic team leaders for running everything in between, have heard many of the team say it was the best one yet.
Great year ahead no doubt.