Wednesday 26 September


I’m sitting at the dining room table in our house. It’s quiet and still, except for the clicking of fingertips on the keyboard. Well, that and the cat snoring from her patch of carpet in the sun.

Gone are the piles of training gear neatly stacked around the house waiting to be packed. Gone are the electronic devices being frantically charged and loaded up with music and movies for the inevitable down time and bus trips to come. Gone are the itineraries and checklists, organising the next six days to a level of detail that can only be imagined.

Yes, Ryan has left for Sydney and the next time we see each other it will be after full-time on Sunday night.

YIKES!!! It’s getting really serious now, people.

The last couple of days have been dedicated to organisation, and to making the most of time spent together before the parting of ways today.

I came home from work last night to a flurry of washing, packing and organising. Ryan had a lot to organise – suits, training gear, casual gear. Although, as he said as we left the house this morning, as long as he’s got his mouthguard and his boots, the rest is secondary. And he checked his bags about fifty times for those things, so I can only assume we are set there.

In the midst of the packing and organising, we stopped and went on a date. We’ve done this each time Ryan before Ryan has left for a Grand Final because I think it’s nice to sit down and dedicate some time, without distractions, to celebrating what he has achieved so far, and to wish him well for the most important part to come.

Sometimes I worry that I get so caught up in helping him get organised for this week and the logistics of everything, that I forget to tell him how proud I am. Date night is a good opportunity to set some time aside for that.

Plus, we had steak and it was amazing.

And of course today Ryan headed into the club early and I followed later for a farewell barbecue and one final good luck hug. It was a beautiful day to sit in the sun, eagerly anticipating what is to come over the next few days, and to farewell the boys as the hopped on the bus to the airport.

Tomorrow the boys have the traditional grand final breakfast. I love the part where all the journalists and commentators try to determine who’s going to win the final by identifying which team looks the most relaxed during this breakfast.

I had a thought on this: perhaps our boys should ditch the traditional club suit for Hawaiian shirts, sunglasses and thongs, and saunter into the breakfast holding a breakfast cocktail (non-alcoholic of course) with a little umbrella in it. Then there would be no doubt which team looks more relaxed. I wish I had thought to suggest this to someone in charge at the club today. No doubt they would have been very grateful to me for sharing my excellent idea and insight, even if the plan is a little late to realistically implement.

So the boys are now officially in Grand Final territory, making their way through the commitments and excitement that makes up this very exciting week. Suddenly the whole thing seems closer and more real than ever. Four sleeps to go everyone…

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