Paul Anderson warned the Huddersfield Giants their Catterick Army Camp experience would be ‘three days of hell’.
But Jermaine McGillvary returned back to Huddersfield believing that was a complete understatement!
After two nights and three days out in the wilderness, the Giants’ Super League squad came back to base mentally and physically exhausted.
Aching backs from having to sleep on the ground, sore heads from a lack of sleep and nerves frayed after being taken out of their comfort zone were the most common complaints.
Yet despite such a tortuous tine, McGillvary can see exactly why they were forced to endure such a cruel experience.
“I can’t think of a phrase to describe the camp as being worse than three days of hell, but if I could I’d definitely be using it!” said the 26-year-old winger.
“It really was absolutely horrible.
“I don’t know about anyone else, but for someone who likes nothing better than chilling on the sofa, watching telly and playing computer games, this experience was as bad as it gets.
“It all started when the team coach ‘deliberately’ broke down just as we were almost there and we were split into two groups and took it in terms to push it about half-a-mile into camp – and it then went downhill from there.
“Even though we were shattered after pushing the bus, we were thrown straight into the woods and quickly taught how to make a bed and a shelter out of sticks and leaves. Sleeping bags were nowhere to be seen.
“It was a real shock to ther system, especially for some of the younger lads. Within 20 minutes, Nathan Mason was missing his dog, his mum and his girlfriend!
“And even though we’d set off at six that morning, we all found it virtually impossible to sleep on the first night. I think I got about 10 minutes in total.
“But that didn’t save us from having to do a four-mile run first thing in the morning, and collect various heavy items to carry en-route.
“That was the start of taking part in a whole variety of exercises, including several more runs, swimming sessions, conditioning work and obstacle courses.
“Because it was such a demanding second day I did manage to get over an hour’s sleep on the second night – it also helped because we had learned to make a warmer shelter the second time around – but the work on the third day was just as challenging.
“It meant the journey back home at teatime was met with a massive sigh of relief.”
But McGillvary knows it’ll be worth it.
“The coaching staff felt this would be the best way to bring us even closer together as a group, and we can go along with that,” he added.
“The key to the camp was working together as a group and encouraging each other when we were struggling.
“It was all about working together as a team under fatigue, which is obviously what we experience when we’re out on the rugby pitch.
“Fair play to the coaches, they were getting stuck in as well and were sleeping outdoors.
“So as a shared experience, I think it really did what was expected.
“But I hope it’s something I won’t have to do in a hurry again!”