Day one saw us fly from Sydney to Singapore which was a long eight hours. Many movies were watched on that trip and quite a few boys joined in some multiplayer games on our little TV screens. After landing in Singapore, we had to quickly walk to the next plane which was to Shanghai. Another five-hour flight and all us boys were quite spent but we werenít allowed to sleep so we could get used to the different time zone. We had a quick training session in the middle of a park and many Chinese locals were standing there, filming us on their phones. After training, on our way back to our hotel, we saw people doing Tai Chi so we all decided to join in. We were all shocking except for Graham, he smashed it out.
We had an early start for our second day in China. The main part of the dayís itinerary was training with the Port Adelaide Aboriginal Academy and also Port Adelaideís AFL leadership group. That was an amazing experience training with some of the best in the business. After a solid training session we then got to play a game against the Port Adelaide Aboriginal Academy boys. We were down by two points at three-quarter-time but after that break they broke away, kicking many last quarter goals. We then all got together as one mob and did the War Cry to a lot of Chinese people. It was awesome to share some of our culture with them. That evening we headed off to a major tourist attraction in Shanghai, the Oriental Pearl Tower. That was quite amazing. We walked on a glass floor, about 250m above the ground, and it was great to see some of the boys and staff overcome their fear of heights.
Once again we started early and trained with the Port Adelaide lads. It was a bit of a lighter session as we were all sore from the game the day before. It was a good session though, as we all continued to push ourselves. After our training, we went and watched a former world champion in table tennis, Wang Liqin. He was extremely humble when versing the Port Adelaide players with Liam Henry giving him a run for his money. We then headed back onto the oval with some Chinese locals and taught them some basic skills of our great game. They were all excited and really got into it. A trip to the markets was next as a little reward for how we conducted ourselves at the clinic. It was different thatís for sure, but it was fun at the same time. Some boys bought many great things and lots of our fellas bought lasers because they looked deadly. A great experience for us next was the magnetic levitation train. That thing reached crazy speeds of 430 kilometres per hour and when we passed the other train, there was a bang from the force that both trains are travelling with. We then headed out for dinner with the academy boys to a very fancy restaurant which was good because we got to know the academy fellas.
Day four gave us our first win. This happened after our final training session with the Port Adelaide boys. It was a good session and got our boys up and about and keen to go for the first bounce. We started strong and set the tone early. The first half was clearly ours with the backs stopping everything that came to them and our forwards collecting everything from the mids and kicking goals. Third quarter got a bit more physical and the Port boys started to come back, but we stuck to our plan and came away with a solid win. We then performed our final War-cry with the Port boys and we definitely showed more passion than ever during this. After this great morning, we travelled to the magnificent Yu Garden. It was a private garden but after 3 generations of it being in the family, it was taken by the government because the family went bankrupt. Back at the hotel we had a resilience session where Graham interviewed Gavin. It was awesome to listen his story! Gav then took us for a cultural session which was also grouse and inspired us to go out and find out more about our own culture.
Today, we had a great start with a sleep in! It was amazing to get an extra hour or two. A big breakfast followed by a core session with Donny really got us going. Kaije won the plank competition holding it for a solid 6 minutes. After that, we headed out to do some shopping for an hour. Most of the boys only bought a drink from Starbucks. We then had to all pack and wander down to the lobby where we checked out and hopped on a bus to the train station. A fast 300km, 5 hour train trip was next. It was good to see different parts of China from a different perspective. That was until the sun went down and we couldnít see much.
Day six saw us travel to one of Chinaís most important and valuable features, The Forbidden City. We went to Tiananmen Square which is where the gate to the Forbidden City is. The City was huge and our guide Martin said there was over 900 rooms in the whole space. There was a lot of amazing artwork and huge pieces of marble that had great looking carvings on it. It was an amazing cultural experience and something that I will remember for a long time.
Today has been one of the highlights of the whole trip. We set off early in the morning and travelled to one of the most iconic places on the whole earth and one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World, the Great Wall of China. Stokesy had a challenge there for us, it was to do a 8 km race on a loop of the Wall. We were split up into 3 groups of 7 and told about the prize for the winners, which was 1000 Yuan to share amongst the winning team. The Great Wall was absolutely amazing and it was an awesome time to do a race because when the going got tough, you could just look over your shoulder and see some great views. It was a struggle at times because we had to nearly crawl up the wall as it was very steep in some parts, but we also had some other pressure. Along with the time trial, we had to carry a 5 and 6 litre bottle which we werenít allowed to drink. Each group also had to carry a backpack and a footy per group. There was one condition, none of these items were allowed to touch the ground. As a unit we did a huge War Cry performance on the Great Wall which was the loudest, itís been one of my highlights of the trip. Also, in Chinese culture we became men for climbing the Wall. Group two took out the win, coming from 15 seconds behind at the last leg. All the Chinese locals and people who were at the Great Wall said it was impossible to complete this part of the Wall in under 2 hours. Our whole team did it in 1 hour and 59 minutes, as well as doing the War Cry twice in between running, having chats about a special place on the wall where we stopped for quite a while and we also had to stop and take many pictures which took up a bit of time. We definitely smashed it out!
Day Eight saw us travel to the Pearl Market where the boys made many more bargins and picked up heaps of gifts for themselves and others. It was a great hour or two which finished off with some much loved Pizza Hut. It was just good to have a change from rice and dimsims. After, we set off to the Beijing airport and got ready to travel to Guangzhou. It was a comfortable 2 hour flight and it was exciting to land in an area with warmer weather. It was nice to be able to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt. Checking into the Hilton was grouse too. The rooms were awesome.
Today was game day against the AFL China team. We rocked up to the ground, had a good feed and were all roaring to go as we hadnít touched a footy the whole time we were in Beijing. We were warming up when we saw a group of Asain men walk in ready to verse us in our great game. The game started out in our favor and we were up in the first fifth (we played five quarters), but after the short break we stuffed around with the ball too much and the China team wanted it a lot more. We later found ourselves 3 goals down and it was a real eye opener for us. We had to work as a team and come back which we did. The game was ours, by quite a large margin. It was great playing aginst the Chinese boys and teaching them our game along the way. Flying Boomerangs defeated AFL China 24.11.155 to 17.7.109.
For our last day in China we went to a special temple where we watched a martial arts show as well as a dragon show. The highlight of the show in my eyes was when two men dressed in a dragon costume were running and jumping on a set of poles. Some of the stuff they did was quite phenomenal. After all this we went back to the hotel and were surprised with a game of basketball down the street. It was good to play as the boys have been wanting to the whole time. The games got intense and it was enjoyable to get around my brothers. Then we headed back to the hotel where we had a wrap up of the trip. A few boys presented Boomerang guernseys to the coaches and we watched a great video, put together by Narelle, of our journey from the July camp to this one. It was a fantastic video with quite a few laughs. With all our bags packed we had to grab them and head downstairs to where we jumped on the bus and went to the airport. We all flew to Singapore together but then went our separate ways to our respected states. It was an amazing trip and it will definitely be one that we will all remember for our whole lives.