As I sat at the airport waiting to board, I got to thinking the closest thing, short of an epic World Cup tour last year, I haven’t had a proper trip with a rugby team for about a decade. Got to say, it feels good to be part of the “team”, even though I wont don the boots, my role as PR Manager is close enough to the action, and I get to join in with the drinking games.
I have been given the official rules, unfortunately rule 9, What goes on tour stays on tour I am unable to fully disclose. I have been given permission to share the odd rule for context, if it is required for PR reasons.
Before getting into the tour though, I should give you some background on the Team. The Groote Elyandt Mudchooks are probably best described as an invitational team similar to the Barbarians.
Like the Baabaas, a big emphasis is on the off field bonding and enjoying the team environment. The team started back in ’89 when a group of guys working in the mines on Groote Elyandt were looking for a reason to get over to the mainland, and what better reason than a rugby trip. From humble begininngs the Mudchooks legend has grown. During their existance they have been good enough to have been invited to many events, such as the Bancok 10’s, the Gold Coast and Hong Kong sevens, however the adhoc nature of the team prevents the necessary organisational abilities attending those events would go against the spirit of the team.
Given a large perrcentage of the team have Islander heritage (mostly Tongan, in fact I might be the only Pakhea in the team) they are probably best known for their traditional challenge, the “Chooka”, which sends fear into the minds of their opponents. Living out their credos of “Best of the Worst” they are often seen at the pointy end of the competition playing for the Gecko Cup, successfully for the majority of the time.
The Darwin 7s, or Hottest 7s as it is officially called, is an IRB run tournament that began in ’97 as the territory 7’s. While not on the International 7s tour, there is an International flavour, with representation from Fiji, Samoa and australian and New Zealand teams, as well as representation from the Brumbies, Sunnybank and plenty of other clubs. There is also a Womens pool so it holds up as a worthwhile event. Talking to past participants, it seems to be a well enjoyed and run tournament with plenty happening on and off the pitch.
Tonight I have the official team meeting to attend, where I will recieve my initiaton task and learn the chooka. Can’t wait, it is great to be back on tour.