Collingwood’s AFLW team held their annual squad day on Saturday at the Holden Centre.
The day was filled with a range of physically and mentally gruelling activities which incorporated an army theme not only to test endurance of the players, but to also build unity, cohesion and teamwork amongst the playing group.
With the players divided into their three lines groups, the day commenced with a 1.2km shuttle run before completing the six laps of death.
The next activity saw each group given 10 minutes to kick as many footballs into a bin from 25, 15 and 10 metres out, the further the distance they kicked from, the more points the team scored.
Another activity saw the teams complete 1000 push ups as a group while two team members held an army stretcher which had to remain off the ground at all times throughout the activity. After every 200 push up, the group had to complete a lap of the oval while carrying the stretcher, sandbags and jerry cans.
A more enjoyable activity for the players appeared to be ‘Queen of the ring’ where each group allocated one team member to face another player in the ring and use a bump bag to push the opponents out of the ring.
But the most moving part of the day was listening to an inspirational talk from Australian Army veteran, Joel Sardi whose story is one of pure bravery and resilience.
Sardi served in the Army for five years as a rifleman which included a seven-month deployment in Afghanistan in 2013. But in August 2014, his life changed forever when he fell off a balcony sustaining serious injuries to his spinal chord which left him a C5 quadriplegic.
The key message of Sardi’s story was his ability to overcome both the physical and mental challenges caused by his injury. A shift in his mindset allowed him to achieve things he thought he'd never have the opportunity to do such as to travel overseas, get married and become a dad. Another important lesson from Sardi's talk was the importance of accepting his situation which played a key role in shaping the mantra he now lives, this being a key takeaway for the entire playing group.
Check out the entire photo gallery from Saturday's session below.