Have a look in­side the Roost­ers’ Kiwi tor­ture camp

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - SPORT - MICHAEL CARAYANNIS

IT WAS the three-day tor­ture train­ing camp which has been de­scribed as the Syd­ney Roost­ers’ “unity rock”.

Fresh from a poor 2016 NRL sea­son, the Chooks went to Queen­stown in New Zealand and re­set their val­ues.

There would be zero tol­er­ance for off-field in­dis­cre­tions, while co-skip­per Jake Friend de­scribed the camp as the time which “brought ev­ery­one to­gether”.

Play­ers were pushed to their lim­its as part of a three­day trek de­signed to test their re­silience. They were forced to climb hills and do sit-ups in a freez­ing lake.

They had to hud­dle to­gether at night, given barely enough blan­kets to keep warm.

It took place just be­fore Christ­mas in the fi­nal days be­fore the team broke up for the hol­i­day pe­riod, but the unity it pro­vided set them on course for Satur­day night’s pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal.

“It was pretty cold and mis­er­able at times,” Friend said.

“They all fin­ished it. The re­ward of that brought ev­ery­one to­gether.

“The boys put a lot of ef­fort and a lot of hard work into the month lead­ing up to the camp.

“That Queen­stown camp capped it all off. It was a point of dif­fer­ence for a team with a few new blokes to go and do some­thing like that and all fin­ish it. That sort of stuff brings a team to­gether.”

When times have been tough this sea­son, the play­ers have of­ten spo­ken about the hard­ships they over­came dur­ing the three days.

“The boys can go back and use some of that,” said Friend, who missed the camp be­cause of his Kan­ga­roos com­mit­ments.

“There was plenty of hard train­ing as well at the camp.

“It was a dif­fer­ent sort of camp, trekking and all that sort of stuff.

‘‘It was hard at times from what the boys have told me.

“That’s been a lit­tle part of the jour­ney this year.”

Friend said not hav­ing to pre­pare for an op­po­nent this week­end had al­lowed them to fo­cus on en­sur­ing they were able to com­pete for 80 min­utes when they played off for a grand fi­nal spot on Satur­day.

“We’ve been in and out of games and had some bad pe­ri­ods,” Friend said.

“Those back end of the games we go back to our footy and com­ing up with wins time af­ter time is im­por­tant to us.’’

BUILD­ING BONDS: The Syd­ney Rooster sea­son train­ing camp in Queen­stown,

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