It has often been said of elite athletes that regardless of what they’re playing – whether that be in the professional arena or a social environment – they have an inner drive to win.

That their competitive juices kick in and they just have to be first across the line.

Bring 40-odd young men together on a training camp, split them into teams of about eight or nine and the environment is amplified.

Away from the training and signing sessions that are so integral to a community camp in Dunsborough, there has also been the team building exercises occurring in and around this beautiful south-west hamlet.

Everything from golf to modified triathlons and brain teasers; with the usual off-season personnel changes this trip has been crucial in developing relationships, getting to know each other a little more deeply.

It was all great fun with an underlying purpose and it is clear the players already enjoy each other’s company.

A driving competition on the range at the Dunsborough Lakes Golf Club provided a mix of light relief and will to win. They hit balls out across a lake with two distinct purposes, one for the players with touch the other for the brutes who can hit a dimpled sphere out of sight.

They started with a marker sitting in the water, roughly 125 metres from the tee. It was a nearest the pin competition. First thought was how would they possibly measure it?

Veteran midfielder Andrew Gaff, the second man to hit, made it easy, lobbing his lofted club to within about a metre of the target.

Andrew Gaff celebrates a superb shot

They moved across the range for the next phase – the longest drive. Again the question bubbled away as to how they would ascertain the best ball.

One after one they stepped up and hit it out into the setting sun until it proved too difficult to separate Jeremy McGovern and Jayden Hunt. There was only one thing to do – a play-off was called.

Hunt stepped forward and went whack!! He has a serious technique and it disappeared into the deep water out the back. McGovern tried to respond, didn’t quite middle it so Hunt claimed the points for his team.        

A session on the beach the next morning was met with the same enthusiasm. Again it was a cocktail of physical and mental challenges and again it was highly competitive.

Callum Jamieson cops a sand spray

From digging around the beach for buried tennis balls, to a 500 metre swim, repeating the distance on paddle boards and assembling a miniature Lego figure it was all part of the drill.

Clay Hall and Liam Duggan dig for tennis balls

Ultimately the challenge was determined in the tennis ball dig. Hunt emerged from the chaos of flying sand to hold aloft the object of the scavenge after about 25 minutes. Others took longer, much longer, and those in Hunt’s team were never headed.

Other activities, including a Master Chef challenge, were included in this quest for success and while victory was sweet for those who tasted it, the winner was undeniably the bond and unity that resulted.

Harry Barnett
Brady Hough
Tom Cole
Reuben Ginbey