Camp builds team Pride
ONCE upon a time, back when goalkickers still toe-poked and boots only came in black, team-building for a footy club meant a couple of nights on the juice at the pub before the season started.
But times have changed. Now team building is like an episode of Survivor, where bonding is attained through co-operation instead of a hangover.
Already mentoring a tight-knit squad, Pride coach Jason Demetriou believes his playing group has grown even closer after the club's three-day camp at Lake Tinaroo.
The Pride were hosted on the property of former Tully Tigers captain-coach Matt Clifford and made full use of their natural surroundings.
The top of a steep hill that overlooked the campsite became the destination for a stretcher-carry drill on Saturday morning.
The Pride's big men were the lucky ones getting a lift up the incline. Muscles ached and swear words were muttered by those doing the carrying, but everybody made it to the summit.
Canoes, not the most natural mode of transport for footballers, were taken out on the lake.
Some players treaded water for up to 25 minutes, but laughs were had and nobody drowned, so it was mission accomplished.
Demetriou, who is heading into his first season in charge of the Pride, said his players had a blast.
"It's been really good just to do something different and get all the players here," he said.
"A lot of the times when we train, the injured are left out, so it's good to have everyone in the group doing stuff.
"It's challenging us physically, but we get a lot of enjoyment as well. The players have been great and had a great time."
Demetriou feels his players achieved just as much when they sat down to set their targets for 2013. He believes the goal-setting session will lead them to take more ownership of their performances.
"We're getting close to the start of our pre-season games," he said.
"It's important that we start to mentally focus on what we want to achieve this year and to go through the process of how we're going to do it.
"It's good we've got everybody here to have that type of meeting. Hopefully it's sunk in and we can take the targets we set this weekend into the rest of the season."
Pride prop Alex Starmer said the camp helped build team unity.
"It brings all the boys closer together," Starmer said.
"We're really away from everything up here," he said.
"We've spent a few days just hanging out together and getting to know each other well.
"It's challenging, as well. That stretcher up the hill, you can't hide when you're in a team. Everybody has to put in so you get the job done."
The Pride's first pre-season hit-out is against the Cowboys Under-20s at Barlow Park on February 16. The game is a curtain-raiser to the Cowboys' trial against the Dragons.
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Team building: Northern Pride team members udertake a a stretcher-carrying drill at a training camp at Lake Tinaroo. Picture: Brendan Francis.