When New Mexico players visited the Essendon Bombers' training facility on Thursday morning, members of the team provided a crash course in Australian Rules Football and taught the Lobos everything from banana kicks, to torpedo kicks, to drop kicks.
The next night, they got a firsthand glimpse of how good the world's best Aussie football players are.
The Lobos bused to Etihad Stadium on Friday night for a rivalry game featuring a pair of Melbourne teams, the first-place Hawthorn Hawks (15-3) against the 16th-place St. Kilda Saints (3-15). Not surprisingly the final score wasn't close as the Hawks pulled away in the second quarter and cruised to a 102-56 win.
Though the score wasn't competitive, the chance to experience a new sport was a treat for the Lobos. They discovered that Australian football contains elements of soccer, American football and even basketball, they mingled with fans of both teams and they even bought team logo scarves, caps and shirts to commemorate the day.
Of course the one player already familiar with the sport was guard Hugh Greenwood, a native of Tasmania and the lone Australian with the Lobos until Cameron Bairstow gets back from national team tryouts this weekend. Greenwood chatted with center Alex Kirk about how he enjoyed his first taste of Aussie football, whether he thought he could play the sport one day and what else he's looking forward to on the rest of the trip.
Guard Hugh Greenwood and center Alex Kirk:
View of the game from the Lobos' seats:
Previously in the series:
• New Mexico in Australia, Day 1: Lobos arrive in Sydney after grueling travel day
• New Mexico in Australia, Day 2: Appendicitis delays Cullen Neal's long-awaited debut
• New Mexico in Australia, Day 3: Lobos open Craig Neal era with a comeback win
• New Mexico in Australia, Day 4: Merv Lindsay celebrates birthday in aboriginal garb
• New Mexico in Australia, Day 5: Hugh Greenwood shines in front of family and friends