As you enjoy the usual newspaper spreads of AFL and NRL clubs enduring
gruelling pre-season camps, treks and other “bonding” fitness regimes,
spare a thought for the photographers and reporters sent out to bring
back the images.

Today’s Hun newspaper has a double page spread showing Hawthorn’s squad climbing lofty peaks in Lord of the Rings country, among New Zealand’s South Island Alps. Ian Baker, from the Hun,
told Crikey that photographer Michael Dodge said it was the hardest gig
he’s ever done, carrying all his photographic equipment as well as his
survival and camping gear up and down the granite and slippery rocks
of the glaciers in freezing conditions.

A regular gym-goer, “Dodgy” is one of the fittest cameramen around but
he is apparently more than ready to stagger back to a comfy
boundary-side position in the sun at the Boxing Day Test.

By the way, if you didn’t think the people who train AFL players are
b*stards, check out the shots of the Hawks’ “compulsory nude swim” in
an icy mountain stream. The Hun has assured Crikey that no
photoshopping took place on the picture of two Hawks running into the
water on the back page, but then again, when it’s that cold, there
wouldn’t be much to photoshop out.

“You should see the shots we didn’t run,” said Baker.