Sea Eagles Start Pre-Season with ‘Six Hours of Hell’

Willie Mason. Image: www.dailytelegraph.com.au

The Manly sea Eagles have begun pre-season training with what club recruit Willie Mason describes as, “six hours of hell.” The former Test and Origin forward believed the ordeals of the day would work to make the team mentally tougher.

The group of players and trainers faced real and serious threats from hypothermia as they climbed up Mr Kosciuszko in bleak, freezing conditions. But the extreme challenge cultivated resilience, camaraderie and toughness.

“You go on a session like that,” said Mason to the Daily Mail, “and you soon discover it’s no secret why they’ve made the finals for the last 10 years and won four grand finals.

“The success at the club is driven by the players and a great coaching staff, who all did the climb with us.

“A few of the senior blokes said this is the standard and this is our culture.

“They said they wouldn’t be happy if anyone quit.

“The senior players got up at the end and said they would have been pissed off if we didn’t train hard and work as a team.”

And work as a team is what they did when one of the trainers was struck down with hypothermia. The players responded to the situation giving him warm clothing and administering first aid, before helping him down the mountain.

After battling the cold, the mountain, and their physical and mental demons the players returned to base. Upon their return they were given a surprise two-hour fitness session.

“So we had to put the wet gear back on and let’s say the boys weren’t exactly impressed,” said coach Singe with a wry smile.

“It was very quiet at first, but then Matty Ballin and Brett Stewart said ‘let’s go’ and that’s when they all started yahooing and carrying on.

“They had to complete the task, so they ran out there and challenged us saying, ‘what else have you got?’

“So we saw the best of the players. A bit of self-doubt and negative talk; but it was satisfying when they lifted to get home.”

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