Every week, FOGS director and Australian Rugby League team manager Gavin “Jed” Allen will be filing his account of life inside the Kangaroos camp. Here is his first instalment, after Australia’s opening round win over Papua New Guinea. Stayed tuned to fogs.com.au for Jed’s Kangaroo Diary during the course of this year’s Four Nations tournament.
The camp so far has been very relaxed and enjoyable. I say enjoyable for me, because I haven’t been the one doing the training.
The boys have had a pretty heavy workload at training, just to get them back up to close to match fitness before things got underway.
A lot of the guys hadn’t played any footy for quite a few weeks. I think I heard somewhere that this was the first time an Australia team has played at the end of the season where the hooker, halfback, five-eighth and fullback all didn’t play in the finals.
So the Kangaroos conditioner Alex Corvo has been working them all pretty hard. He basically came up with a plan to give them a “mini off-season” to get some miles back into their legs.
Of course, it’s been great to see so many Queenslanders make the squad, and the team for the first Test.
I was especially happy for Nate Myles, who made his Test debut, and Lote Tuqiri, who was playing his first Test back after his stint in rugby union.
I was talking to Tim Sheens, the Aussie coach, about the make-up of the team for the first Test. He said: “I haven’t even counted how many Queenslanders are in the team.”
He went through the list, and he said to me: “There’s 11 Queenslanders and only six from NSW”.
I looked back at him and said: “Well, Tim, I reckon you’ve got the mix just about right, then!” That gave him a bit of a laugh.
The game itself was probably what everyone was expecting – an Australian win, and plenty of sore players at the end of the game.
The Kumuls are just as tough as us, and it doesn’t matter if they are 40 points behind, they are still going to try to belt you.
There wouldn’t be one bloke in the 17 who hasn’t come out of that game with a cork, bruising or some stitches courtesy of the Kumuls tacklers. They just smash you every time.
No wonder my mate Trevor Gillmeister loves them so much.
But they have always been that way, they just play with great passion. You know you have been in a game with them afterwards.
Brent Tate was probably the biggest injury concern, but he just got a bit of a head knock and he will be fine.
Darren Lockyer pulled through fine in his first game for a while because of his damaged ribs. Locky got belted a few times himself, but aside from a few stitches over his ear, he was fine.
The team heads to Melbourne today (Monday) to get ready for Sunday’s game against England at AAMI Stadium. I’ll send through another update then after – hopefully – another good win by the Aussies.