Today marked the final full day of the English leg of the group's adventure. After bidding farewell to our gracious hosts from Lichfield the group headed off to tour Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United. The group sat where the players they watch on television get changed prior to the game and then walked down the tunnel that the players do on match day to the thunderous applause of a frenzied crowd (okay yes it was just a recording :-)), learned about the role that the Munich tragedy played in making the club what it is today and of course finished the experience with the mandatory visit to the Super Store.
From here the group boarded the bus for the trip to Hull which is the departure point for the overnight ferry that will take us to begin the European leg of the trip.
As today marks the end of the "English Experience" a number of the players reflected on their experiences to date and they follow below;
"Far from the heat and humidity of Australia, England has thus far proved to be an exciting and above all enjoyable experience. Now accustomed to the lack of sunlight and chilling temperatures, the new challenges that these have provided have been embraced. Despite the jet lag and long days that has sometimes proved challenging, great success on the field has been achieved. Outside of the sporting arena players have been exposed to many new cultural aspects of England. Highlights of the tour so far include; English breakfast (particularly Black Pudding), the spectator passion shown at local football games and exploring the significance of the historic and time worn parts of the country. After crossing the English Channel many new and exciting experiences await this rowdy bunch of Aussies."
"As a tourist, as a hockey player and as a self confessed shopaholic this trip to date has outdone my expectations for how amazing our journey to the other side of the world would be. Having just completed the England leg of our trip, we have not only visited some of the most iconic attractions in England such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square and the Tower Of London but have been immersed in the vibrant culture and rich history. Staying with and getting to know our hosting English families has definitely been a highlight of the trip as we make friends and good memories from our time together. The team spirit on the field is second to none and it is a pleasure to watch our team develop from our first game together a week ago. An enthusiastic approach from our coaches and support from the sideline has really made a fantastic atmosphere for the competition. I am looking forward to the following days in Europe after our ferry trip to Rotterdam tonight."