Nudgee College first eight crew member Ben McMillan ahead of Saturday’s Head of the River. Picture: Peter Wallis
Nudgee College first eight crew member Ben McMillan ahead of Saturday’s Head of the River. Picture: Peter Wallis

Nudgee banking on ‘band of brothers’

Ben McMillan calls his Nudgee College open first crew a band of "brothers''.

Two summer training camps, a regatta in Sydney, five training mornings a week and a run of seven straight wins over rowing rivals have brought them to Saturday's Head of the River on the brink of an unbeaten GPS season.

McMillan, a converted triathlete in Year 11, is on track to join a rare contingent of rowers to have competed three years in a GPS open first crew.

McMillan, Leyton Friedrich, Dylan Dunne, Zane Kirk, Sam Green, Dylan Rhodes, Patrick Long, Ethan Ferraro and cox Darcy Carmody have been endeavouring with coach John Bowes to keep this week of heightened stakes the same as all the others this year.

"We had assembly on Tuesday. We had the presentation of all the rowers (to the school) and the boys were asked to get to the regatta and support all our crews on Saturday,'' McMillan said.

"It really feels like we are brothers in the crew _ it's probably why we have done so well so far.

"We are trying to keep everything the same as other weeks and try to stay on the same page.

"All the crews will have a crack on Saturday. I think Churchie will be up there and TSS (The Southport School) and Gregory Terrace will be all be good too.''

Cox Carmody is a Year 10 student game enough to bark instructions on the water at older Nudgee boys.

 

The Nudgee College open first eight - Ben McMillan, Leyton Friedrich, Dylan Dunne, Zane Kirk, Sam Green, Dylan Rhodes, Patrick Long, Ethan Ferraro and cox Darcy Carmody - ahead of Saturday’s Head of the River. Picture: Peter Wallis
The Nudgee College open first eight - Ben McMillan, Leyton Friedrich, Dylan Dunne, Zane Kirk, Sam Green, Dylan Rhodes, Patrick Long, Ethan Ferraro and cox Darcy Carmody - ahead of Saturday’s Head of the River. Picture: Peter Wallis

 

"He's doing well in his first year and has improved a lot. He's a key part of the crew,'' McMillan said.

McMillan's father Ralph is a Nudgee old boy, but in the early 1990s there was no GPS rowing program at the school.

Thailand-born McMillman followed his younger sister Maddie, now 13, into rowing when a coach Paul Brown, now director for rowing at All Hallows, loaned their father a rowing ergo machine one holiday.

"I was in triathlon at the time and also doing track and field and cross country, but rowing seemed good,'' he said.

"It was the end of Year 9 I got into rowing and I made the first eight in Year 10.

"I think my parents are as keen as I am for this race

"I'd like to keep rowing after I leave school and see how far it takes me. I would like options (in tertiary education) in Australia or overseas, in or America or the UK.''

News Corp Australia

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