Jaws dropped when the boys entered the Rookie House – probably better described as a Millionaire's Mansion.
As they were getting settled, there were early disputes between David and Jordan regarding the sleeping arrangements. Eventually 'Bricks' got his way, but went straight through the bed slats for his trouble!
The newly appointed housemates had their first visitors when Freddy and Lammy gave them the schedule for the week ahead, which focused on three main challenges.
The first was a gruelling weights and boxing session with none other than the "Mad Dog", Adam MacDougall – testing the boys' physical strength and endurance. Following was the Rookies' first Captain's Challenge in the lead up to their first match together as a full squad.
It was no surprise that English personal trainer Luke Frixou led the testing with an impressive 180 kilograms on the squat rack. While the boys were slugging it out in the gym, the man who dominated the Mount Steel challenge, Matt Gorman, was doing tests of his own, undergoing both scans and an MRI on his shoulder - which he injured in last week's game. The bad news was inevitable for the former soccer player when Sports Physician, Dr. Tom Cross revealed that Matt had been ruled out for the rest of week's activities and therefore had no chance to gain immunity from 'The Cut'.
Although disappointed, he was vocal in the Captain's Challenge as the Rookies were faced with the terrifying task of harness-jumping off Australia Tower, 75 metres from the ground. This mental challenge was coupled with two physical components, as the Rookies had to run up the stairs first and then complete the task with their choice of 100 military grade pushups or situps. The Rookie with the fastest cumulative time would be the Captain and safe for another week.
For 27-year-old Kiwi golf pro, Garry-John Hill, he openly admitted his fear, saying that it was amongst the hardest things he has ever had to do, but he managed to face this.
Newcastle-based sparkie, Chris Hyde was quick out of the blocks and had the fastest time of the lot when running up the skyscraper's 26 levels at two minutes and thirty five seconds. Unfortunately, the moment was all too overwhelming and after becoming a quivering mess he had to forfeit the remainder of the challenge, much to Head Coach Brad Fittler's dismay.
This all meant that second generation player, Lou Goodwin (son of Matt Goodwin) would captain the NRL Rookies in their first game as a team against a NSW Ron Massey Cup representative team
It seemed as though Lou enjoyed the added responsibility when he came up with a stunning try-saving tackle, which changed the momentum of the game. For Chris, he quickly blocked out the disappointment of the Captain's Challenge and caused havoc out of dummy-half.
To step into Matt Gorman's place for the game was the very person he was up against for the last spot in the Top 14, Matt Johnstone. It was clear how much he relished the importance of this second chance when Forwards Coach Mark "MG" Geyer said he was in his top three best players from the game.
Unfortunately, Jesse Shearer did not have a good game and was exposed on the left edge, while David Andjelic's lack of fitness also proved to be an issue.
With the scores level at 24 apiece, the brilliance of Jordan Martin shone when he scored a length of the field try in the dying moments, to seal the win for the NRL Rookies.
With the boys on a high, they quickly had to come back to reality when they were given one final task of the week which was to rate their teammates' performances in "The Sheds". To no surprise the three weakest players voted by the Rookies were David, Jesse and Matt Gorman – due to his limited opportunity.
At the end of the week Freddy confronted the playing squad at "The Cut" on the hallowed turf at Allianz Stadium. This proved to be the end of the road for Jesse Shearer who then had to do the long and lonely walk back across the field to the changing rooms. Freddy believed he didn't have enough time to mold the youngster to his potential, which meant a new Top 14 was shaped with the inclusion of Matt Johnstone.
What other surprises do the coaches have in store for next week? And most importantly, who do you think has what it takes to edge their way that bit closer to a guaranteed NRL contract and bragging rights as the NRL Rookie?
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