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By Media & Publications Manager Darren Griffiths
Another busy but thoroughly enjoyable day here in Sydney...a day when an Everton player made history, a Sydney taxi driver got lost on a half-mile journey and the Australian Toffees got to meet their heroes!
Training this morning was once again at the West Tigers complex on the outskirts of the city and again the lads looked nice and sharp.
Clearly, the accent is very much on fitness work but the manager and the coaches have cleverly devised highly-relevant sessions that also include using the ball.
"They think we are fooled by this but we are not!" laughed Sylvain Distin later in the afternoon.
"But pre-season is pre-season and we accept it and get on with it."
Sylvain and Leighton Baines were the two players selected to meet the media on Tuesday afternoon at the team hotel.
They were a bit tired and therefore quite pleased that only the Sydney Telegraph attended the organised briefing. The main topic of conversation centred around the dismal performance of France at the World Cup!
In the afternoon, we visited the nearby Sydney Harbour Marriot Hotel - the venue for the evening meeting of the players and the Australian Supporters Club - to make sure that everything was in place.
As it was pouring with rain we opted to jump into a taxi for the three-minute journey. That proved an error of judgement!
We were surprised when the driver made a left turning out of the hotel, rather than the expected right one...and we were bemused when he subsequently pulled over into a nearby bus-stop to consult his Sydney A-Z.
He checked it out, nodded to himself in satisfaction, eased the vehicle away from the bus-stop...and promptly got hopelessly lost!
After alarmingly almost crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge for no apparent reason, the Everton media team - with the help of an iPhone and Google Maps - finally arrived at the Marriot somewhat later than anticipated! The driver by now was so flustered that after we'd unpacked our equipment from the back of the taxi, he shot off with the boot still wide open and only the frantic waving of a horrified hotel concierge prevented an accident!
Things were a lot smoother later in the evening when we returned for the main event.
I was the MC for the evening and it was a huge success as almost 200 passionate Sydney-based Evertonians relished the opportunity to listen to the manager and the players for an hour or so.
Our main partners Chang are fully deserving of a mention because they offered free beer to all those who attended and, believe me, that was very well received!
And the Everton footballer who made history?
John Heitinga became our first ever overseas player to make it through to the final of the World Cup. Sadly, not many of the lads saw him do it as the Holland v Uruguay semi-final kicked off at 4.30am over here and at this moment in time getting some decent sleep is more important!
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