Queensland tour diary: Jake Lovett
We all know players are accustomed to traveling long distances for TAC Cup games across Victoria, but what is it like traveling interstate to play?
We asked Dandenong Southern Stingrays Jake Lovett to detail his journey to Queensland for the AFL Victoria Record.
Thursday April 23
Had training Thursday night and we lost two players to injury on the training track. Discovered midfield rotations would be adjusted with proposed move to rotate through defence now not possible. Early night ready for trip to Queensland on Friday.
Friday April 24
Awake at 8am, already packed and set to leave for Dandenong at 9am.
Find out on flight to Brisbane I am sitting with Corey Machaya who is a first time flyer. I myself am not the world’s best person on planes, but quickly discover I am doing better than Corey as he grits his teeth during take off.
Arrive at Brisbane at 3pm. Very excited to be going to Queensland with my team mates. No time for autographs at airport, straight on the bus and off to Hotel Ibis.
Brisbane sightseeing consists of quick walk around Brisbane Central, mainly for a stretch after the flight and bus trip.
Find out that we were going to have a talk with Justin Leppitsch, Brisbane Lions senior coach and first Stingrays draftee. We all really enjoyed and listened to what he had to say. He was very insightful, explaining what it takes to get drafted, the principles he works by and good habits to learn in and out of football.
Roommate for the trip is first gamer Matt La Fontaine who was excited about making his Stingrays debut. After a long day, lights out at 10:30pm, ready to take on Queensland on Saturday.
Saturday April 25
Woke up at 7:45am and go for a quick walk plus a morning stretch.
Breakfast was all you can eat so had to contain myself with the match just hours away.
Arrived at ground 9:15am for our pregame prep, all leading up to the last post in respect for the Anzacs. Definitely a chance for us all to reflect on this very special day.
Themes for the game were courage and persistence in honour of the Anzacs many years ago.
A number of us had played Queensland the week before in the Vic Country practise match so got to know a few of their more dangerous players. Huge difference in weather conditions though, with Melbourne your typical Autumn 18 degrees, and Queensland turning it on with a balmy 31!
Heat caused rotations to come a lot closer together, every four minutes, which was challenging.
Ran out winners by two goals and sung the song strongly. Rays all played as a team and I'm happy to be a part of it.
Great goal by Jake Dipasquale in the final term, he was very happy with that one. We will be sure to see that a few times over the next week.
Left on the bus at 2.30pm to the airport for our 5pm flight - again no chance for sightseeing.
Back in Melbourne 7:45pm.
Overall a really good weekend and I appreciate what all the staff did for us pre and post game.
Dandenong Southern Stingrays were the first of three clubs to head north this season, with Queensland joining the TAC Cup competition for five games in 2015. The Stingrays join Gippsland Power (Rd 7) and Oakleigh Chargers (Rd 9) heading to the sunshine state and came away with a Round 5 win by 14 points.