Part two of one of the most unique Australian sporting "swaps" was completed today when two-time Bathurst winner Russell Ingall trained with AFL star Jason Akermanis and the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba. Ingall, who won the last round of the V8 ...
Part two of one of the most unique Australian sporting "swaps" was completed today when two-time Bathurst winner Russell Ingall trained with AFL star Jason Akermanis and the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba.
Ingall, who won the last round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series in his Caltex Havoline Ford two weeks ago, did several warm-up exercises and then went through a series of drills with Akermanis, a Brownlow Medallist, as his personal coach.
Even two-time Lions premiership coach Leigh Matthews came out to greet Ingall and wish him all the best for the training run.
The first part of this "Trading Places" exercise took place on Monday when Akermanis, a self-confessed rev head, drove 10 laps of Queensland Raceway in a Stone Brothers Racing Ford Falcon under the watchful eye of Ingall -- reaching speeds in excess of 240kph.
Both activities were conducted for a special feature being prepared by Network Ten's RPM program which will go air this Sunday afternoon.
"I don't think I would like to take some of the hits these guys do every week," said Ingall, after the session.
"We did some drills with the tackling pad and even though Jason (Akermanis) was taking it relatively easy on me, I felt it enough to know I did not want any more. Unfortunately when we take a hit in the car it tends to be a pretty big one and something you don't forget for a while.
"I think I certainly improved through the session, but that would not have been hard when you consider my starting point and the fact I probably have not kicked a football for 20-odd years.
"It was great to get a small taste of what these guys go through."
Both Ingall and Akermanis were impressed with the way each other adapted to their own chosen sports.
"When he first came out he had a pretty grubby sort of kick," said Akermanis.
"Within 30 minutes he was not only kicking the ball 40m, but was kicking it pretty accurately.
"It would only be a matter of time before Russell was a reasonable kick.
"I think he has the advantage I have in that he has a lower centre of gravity and that helped him adapt pretty quickly to some of the other drills.
"I think footy is the tougher of the two sports, but that means we have a shorter playing window. Maybe I will give Russell a call when I am done."
The next round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series will be held at Sydney's Oran Park on August 15-17 and the Lions host the Kangaroos at the Gabba on Saturday night where Ingall will be a guest speaker at a pre-game function.
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