Harrow-Balmoral president Michael Phelan says the memories of a unique pre-season camp will stick with him for life, after returning from bushfire affected Kangaroo Island last week.
39 players and members from the club ventured to South Australia to help with restoration efforts after more than a third of the island was burnt across a devastating summer.
Bringing with them farm-smarts, a jovial attitude and an ethos of hard work, the volunteers helped support farmers doing it tough, while also pouring an estimated $15,000 back into the local community.
Mr Phelan said after months of planning, the trip turned out "even better than expected".
"The two words to sum it up are just humbled and privileged," he said.
"I was really proud of our group for putting in the hard work.
"We know we only provided a minute percentage of what they required, but we thank the people on Kangaroo Island for letting us help out."
Mr Phelan said seeing the damage from the bushfires "in the flesh" was a confronting experience.
"After we got the ferry across, the first 45 minute drive was just Kangaroo Island as it should be. It was beautiful," he said.
"Then all of a sudden, you hit the affected area and it is just devastation everywhere. It's very confronting actually, the extent of it.
"The further west you got, it just seemed to get worse and worse. Just compete devastation."
Among various contributions, the club carted farm supplies, built cattle feeders, hung gates, erected 21 kilometres of fencing and pulled down 15 kilometres of burnt out fences, all while lending an ear to locals still reeling from the impact of the fires.
"It's quite clear speaking to farmers that they are still pretty rattled," Mr Phelan said "They've got so much going on and so much to do.
"It was great to be able to speak to them, and one night we put a bit of money over the bar at the pub and invited them to have a drink with us.
"There were plenty of laughs - we're a pretty jovial group once we get together, so our farmers would have enjoyed that bit of relief for a very short time, to have a laugh and a joke and get some work done at the same time.
"Some guys have formed connections that will probably last a pretty long time."
Mr Phelan said he expected the experience to stick with the playing group and club members for life.
"From a selfish side of things, it was a really eye-opening experience for everyone who went across," he said.
"We're all better off as a group because we came together and worked hard for something.
"As far as a bonding trip goes, you wouldn't get much better."
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