FARRER duo Max Altus and Alek Hall have returned to school after a victorious tour of Samoa that also proved to be an eye-opener both on and off the field.
The pair were part of the touring Country Rugby League U16 squad which accompanied the opens squad to Polynesia for the nine day tour that returned last week.
Playing two games in seven days the U15 side made short work of the Samoan Residents, beating them 46-10 in front of a swelling crowd in Apia as a curtain-raiser for the Samoa verse Fiji test.
Lock and hooker Altus said that while it was difficult to defend against the unpredictable Residents, their lack of structure made it a bit easier to attack for the Country squad.
“It is a bit different – a fair bit of crash and bang,” Altus said.
“They don’t really play with any structure but that made it hard to defend against sometimes as well.”
Following the opener the tourists then moved on to Savai’i for the second match against the Savai’i Residents, with a similar result running out winners 36-4 in a physical game.
Prop Hall loved the challenge of taking on a different style of football, as well as watching the Country Opens side, which included former Group 4 players Josh Schmiedel and Blake Gallen, train and play alongside them.
“We were still getting used to playing with each other as a team,” Hall said.
“It was good to see how the older guys prepared and played and to spend a bit of time with them.”
While their first selection and tour with the Country squad was an eye opener, the biggest lesson for the boys came from the sight seeing and travel in between.
“It made me realise how lucky we are to live in Australia,” Hall said.
“The ocean views and beaches were amazing but the cities and towns could be a bit rough.”
“A lot of the Samoans don’t really live in houses – a lot of it is a bit like a slum and some people sleep in the stalls that they sell clothes and things from.”
”It was a great experience.”
The boys will now take that experience and new training techniques into the off-season, with plenty of motivation to crack next season’s Country U18s.