New ACT Meteors recruit Katie Mack, centre, joins her new teammates in Canberra for a bonding session at paintball. Photo: Dougal Reed
The ACT Meteors hope an army-style bonding camp will kick-start their bid to reach the finals for the first time in the Women's National Cricket League.
Two months out from their first game, the Meteors were pushed to the limit as they braved Canberra's icy winter to get a head start on training.
They traded their cricket bats for paintball guns and were then sent on a five-kilometre hike to find their camp.
When they got there they had only a tarpaulin for shelter, had to keep the fire going through the night, and finished their excursion with a 6am fitness session running around cowpats about 50 kilometres out of Canberra.
The temperature dropped to just 2 degrees. But coach Andrew Dawson said the bonding trip, under the guidance of SAS sniper Rob Maylor, was the perfect way to start the Meteors' year.
''The girls were a bit apprehensive about what to expect. We kept them in the dark,'' Dawson said.
''We wanted to get them out of their comfort zone. Rob was with them and we basically just did something different. They were together for 16 hours overnight, had tasks and had to get together for this new group.''
The Meteors will begin their WNCL season in October and their aim is to rise up the ladder to challenge traditional powerhouses NSW. Dawson said the players needed to be fitter if they wanted to compete against the best.
New recruit Katie Mack has joined the squad as an all-rounder.
Mack, 18, played for the Australian under-21s team against New Zealand last year and has been training with the NSW Breakers for three seasons.
Mack, who bowls leg-spin, said she signed with the Meteors for a chance to play more regularly.
''Canberra's a place for young players to come and show what they've got,'' she said.
''There's opportunity here … it's like you're playing against the best and you get to measure yourself and test yourself against those NSW players.''