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Happy campers

Luke McManus  December 14, 2017 3:43 PM

Development Camp '17 comes to a close with a skills session at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Rec in Narrabeen.

Development Camp '17 comes to a close with a skills session at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Rec in Narrabeen.

The 2017 Summer Development Camp a success, with Sydney's first-to-third-year players ticking every box during the intensive three-day program.

Arriving on Monday, a group of 18 players from the development group travelled to Narrabeen on the Northern Beaches for a training camp designed to test both their physical and mental aptitude as well as allow the group, especially this year's draftees, an opportunity to bond with each other away from the football club ahead of what's a testing AFL/NEAFL season.

Split into four teams at the start of the camp, the players squared off in each activity to earn points with the victorious team at the end winning themselves a hard-earned dinner courtesy of the coaches and Welfare Officer Dennis Carroll.

The program featured two training blocks, with running and skills dominating the sessions, but was mainly centred around team-oriented activities including rounds of paddle boarding, human foosball and basketball.

The centrepiece, though, was an Amazing Race-style dash along and in the Narrabeen Lagoon's banks and open water.

Starting with a running race along the fire trail that circles the Sydney Academy of Sport, our hosts over the three-day camp, teams then had to think their way through a puzzle in which they had to float a ping pong ball up the length of a leaky pipe.

They had to hit the track again before jumping in kayaks and propelling themselves the 1.5km journey, partly through open water, to Bilarong Reserve. After hitting the bank, teams had to put a puzzle together before returning to home base with the final challenge involving building a fire, boiling water and making coach Johnny Blakey a 'cuppa tea'.

With plenty on the line, the players' competitive spirit was alive but they never lost track of the aim of the camp.

Many of the happy campers have been at the football club for less than a month but you'd swear they've all been friends for years, such has been the strong bond forged between the draftees and the rest of the squad during this 2017-18 pre-season campaign.

That mateship strengthened after the three days at Sydney Academy Sport and Recreation, the host venue of this year's camp. For some, pre-season training can be a monotonous grind so the chance to spend some time away from their usual surrounds was warmly welcomed.

Ruckman Darcy Cameron, who took part in last year's inaugural camp, said the opportunity to spend some quality time with his younger teammates and break up pre-season had been embraced by all.

"I still need to come out of my shell a little bit and work on my leadership so it's a chance to take that on," Cameron said.

"For the younger boys there's the exactly the same opportunity.

"This changes up the pre-season, takes the sting out of it a little bit, and we get through this and there's only a week and a half before the Christmas break."

 Stay tuned for a full wrap of Development Camp '17 by SwansTV in the coming days.

Take a closer look at what the boys got up to over the three days...