Every rugby league fan has their favourite players, their favourite teams and their favourite moments; but have you ever taken a step back and wondered what former rugby league players are up to post-footy?
After a fantastic suggestion to us by a user on Twitter, we made a decision to get in touch with former players and talk to them about their careers, their highlights, their adventures and their memories, as well as advice they would have for budding rugby league players.
In the first part of our new interview series, we had a chat with Kevin Campion, a premiership winner with the Brisbane Broncos, as well as stints with the Gold Coast Seagulls, the St George Dragons, the Adelaide Rams, the New Zealand Warriors & the North Queensland Cowboys.
If you happen to be a fan of those teams, enjoy the read and the interview. Even if you’re not, just enjoy the interview anyway and plenty more to come.
Kevin Campion Interview:
1. What are your earliest memories of rugby league growing up?
Mostly going to the Mackay showgrounds and watching dad play. I distinctly remember the smell of liniment from the old sheds and playing footy with all my mates on the dog track that circled the main field with anything that resembled a ball.
2. Throughout your career, you played for 6 different teams; which team did you feel most at home with?
The Broncos. I remember telling Wayne that I wanted to become part of the Broncos Family when I arrived. I loved the place.
3. In your first year with the Broncos, you won a grand final and scored a try in that game; what was it like to get your hands on the grand final trophy among your team-mates?
It was an amazing experience. To be part of arguably one of the greatest grand final teams of all time is something kids from North Queensland can only dream of.
4. Born in Sarina and growing up with rugby league in Queensland, was it always a goal of yours to play Origin? When you did, what were your thoughts of it and does it differ from regular club games?
I think it’s every young player who loves the game of rugby league, their dream is to play Origin and it was no different for me. When I finally got my chance, I knew it was a different beast to a club game. The speed and intensity without any room for mistakes are the difference and throw in the pressure from the whole State needing a win.
5. At the 2000 World Cup, you were given the opportunity to represent Ireland; talk to us about that experience and what your Irish heritage means to you.
Yes, my ancestors are from Dublin and when the opportunity presented itself, I thought what a fantastic experience that shouldn’t be passed up and it didn’t disappoint. We were the first Ireland side to make the quarter-finals of a rugby league World Cup and we were just pipped by our arch enemies England by a small margin.
6. Post-footy, how have you been keeping yourself busy and are you still up-to-date with the game at present?
Yes, I am still involved and have recently taken up a mentoring role with the ISC Tweed Heads Seagulls. Loving it.
7. If you could give any young, budding player advice, what would it be?
You are going to have a once in a lifetime experience but if you are not prepared to sacrifice everything in your life for this experience and be prepared for the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, then this ride may not be the ride for you.