By Murray Wenzel – Cairns Post
Exactly what the Richmond Tigers are put through in the next 10 days is a mystery to them, they just know it is going to be hot.
Forty-five players and about 30 staff arrived in Cairns on Monday ahead of a pre-season camp that will feature an Amazing Race-style journey from Gordonvale to the Daintree.
It is the first time they have chosen the Far North for this purpose, having played and lost two AFL premiership games against Gold Coast Suns in the past two seasons.
Tigers midfielder Daniel Jackson said the trip would give them a welcome change of scenery from Melbourne and a chance for the new recruits to familiarise themselves with the club.
“It’s exciting; just a change of atmosphere is always a good thing. I’m not sure I won’t be looking forward to the heat so much in a few days’ time when we’re sweating it out,” he said. “We have four guys just drafted that haven’t really met anyone so this trip will be invaluable for them.”
The players train in a special heat chamber at their Punt Rd headquarters, but Jackson said they were still nervous about facing Mother Nature in steamy Cairns.
“There’s trepidation about how we’ll cope with the heat up here, but we know it’s going to be gruelling and hard work so the results will be positive,” he said. Richmond assistant coach Justin Leppitsch said it was a no-brainer to tap into the heat and humidity on offer in Cairns.
“The heat component of the training is something we’re looking hard into,” he said.
“The club will invest heavily in that and you can’t get much hotter in Australia than Cairns, I must say. If you want to experience it in this country, you have to do it here.”
The team trained at Cazalys yesterday and will do so again today and on Thursday , before their mystery trip takes them from south of Cairns deep into the Daintree.
While the Tigers think they are on a good thing, Leppitsch stopped short of saying other clubs would be copying their strategy.
“Everyone has their philosophies, but people tend to copy the best teams, so once we climb the ladder again I’m sure people will analyse our methods,” he said.
Their loss to the Suns last season, that came in the form of a goal after the siren to rugby league convert Karmichael Hunt, hurt their charge towards the top eight and the Tigers eventually finished in 12th spot.
A repeat of that would not sit well with the club, who have their sights set on a return to September football for the first time since 2001.
Jackson said that involved notching a win in Cairns after two failed attempts.
“It’s no longer about developing. The boys are a bit older, wiser, skilful, fitter; we’re ready to attack next season with everything we’ve got,” he said.
“Certainly we’ve struggled to deal with the conditions and this trip will really help.”