The BARLA Great Britain Lions squad has had to endure a six-hour coach journey from Sydney to Gunnedah and are currently staying for the week at the Red Chief Motel. They were put through their paces in a tough training session in the afternoon and all players are desperate to be involved on Saturday.
Manager Neil Baxter is impressed with the facilities on offer, he said, "We're at Gunnedah now and the training facilities are good. Everything has been laid out for us, there are loads of activities for the lads and I think it will be a really good bonding week. Everything we do will be done as a team. We won't be as fractured as we were in Sydney, what with its different attractions and other things that the lads wanted to do. I think it will be a good week for us.
He added, "A large crowd is expected for the game with the added attraction of an appearance in Gunnedah of ex-Kangaroo Jamie Lyon. There are four games on prior to ours with the local side playing a Wee Waa side that includes the former Parramatta star. His appearance is sure to create a huge interest."
On the strength of his side Baxter commented, "I think before we came away we knew that there was going to be 20 to 22 players pushing for the Test squad. A lad like Loz Wildbore has come out as a late replacement, and was voted the "best back" on Saturday, he's certainly putting the other fullbacks in the squad under pressure. But that's what an International squad should do anyway. My nerves are already kicking in, so I'll probably be a right mess by Saturday!"
Captain Tommy Goulden summed up the feeling of the whole squad, "The lads are buzzing now, the test match is the big one, that's what we've come over here to win."
Australia Tour 2004 Fixtures
Game 1 - Tuesday 22nd June 10 v 22 Manly-Warringah A Grade Rep Side Manly, Sydney Kick Off: 2.30pm
Game 2 - Saturday 26th June 30 v 36 South West Metro Waratahs Hillier Oval, Liverpool, Sydney Kick Off: 2.30pm
Game 3 - Saturday 3rd July 52 v 12 Redfern All Blacks Erskinville Oval, Erskinville, Sydney Kick Off: 2.30pm
Game 4 - Saturday 10th July v Australian Aboriginals - TEST MATCH Kitchener Oval, Gunnedah Country, NSW Kick Off: 3.30pm
Game 5 - Wednesday 14th July v Combined North Coast Kempsey, NSW Kick Off: 3.00pm
Game 6 - Saturday 17th July v Combined Police/Corrective Services Venue TBA, Sydney Kick Off: 4.00pm