I was lucky enough to be a member of the Sydney Roosters 2010 grand final campaign. After ‘winning’ the wooden spoon in 2009 none of us thought it was a reality but week after week we kept on winning our matches and on the night of my 30th birthday we qualified for the big dance.
Cue the champagne (for my birthday of course!) and then….the work. Yep, media schedule for the week sent at 2am. Little did I know that this would be the pattern of the week…..late nights and early mornings.
We flew in from Brisbane where we had played our qualifier and I stumped up at my mates place to watch the AFL grand final. I say watched….I meant sat on the balcony taking phone calls from media, coaches, staff and players.
This theme remained for most of the weekend as Monday was a big media day. By big I mean four hours of one on one interviews with around 10 players. That is a lot of journalists to move around and hurry up when their allotted time was up.
After this came a procession of open training sessions, press conferences, grand final breakfasts, Today Show crosses – with set up from 3.30am! – Footy Show appearances, harbour cruises, news crosses and Bondi Beach activations. In the end I was even doing radiointerviews just to accommodate every request…I can talk very eloquently about the weather and potential pitch conditions at ANZ Stadium!
My most apt memory of that week though was when the coach asked for a specific sports documentary from the US, that I had ESPN USA FTP to ESPN Australia and then, laying on the floor of the assistant coaches office due to sheer exhaustion, I burned 27 copies for the players.This was a documentary the coach HAD TO HAVE for the players. He walked into the office, seeing me half asleep on the floor, and asked me what on earth I was doing. ‘Burning your bloody DVD’s’ was my response. ‘Oh, don’t worry about that anymore’ he says. Geez, thanks!
So in the end, we lost the match, had a fair bit to drink afterwards, and I spent the next day on my lounge room floor sleeping and watching season 6 of Entourage.
The experience of a lifetime Grand Final Week. If you get the chance to be involved in one…take it! Exhausting but very very rewarding.