My Best Mate’s A Foot­ball Star

Jack Duncan and Rick de Boer

Australian Four Four Two - - CONTENTS - IN­TER­VIEW Kathy Stone

RICK: No­body our age [12] had ever gone from the top. The hill was a bit gnarly, you’d say, and had a 90 de­gree turn on it. JACK: I thought I could han­dle it. RICK: And I just kind of talked him into it. You know, just be­ing that friend, try­ing to push him to bet­ter him­self [laughs]. I like to think I pushed him into the whole skat­ing and surf­ing thing back in the day. JACK: I knew pretty early on it wasn’t go­ing to end well but it was too late to back out. RICK: He kind of made the turn and then faded in the last minute and came off to the side of the road. JACK: I hit the kerb, landed on some rocks and this, like, cut-off street sign. It was a pretty bad area to land. JACK: [ Back home] I fainted twice. My par­ents rushed me up to the hos­pi­tal where I had an emer­gency blood trans­fu­sion be­cause I had mas­sive in­ter­nal bleed­ing. If I had man­aged to

get to sleep that night I would have passed away. I was in in­ten­sive care for 12 days. I lost the top one-third of my right kid­ney but what’s left still func­tions pretty well.

Rick was at the hos­pi­tal the next day... JACK: He was absolutely dev­as­tated. Both of us were young and try­ing to make it as soc­cer play­ers. I missed most of that sea­son in U12s and when I started back I was wear­ing a pro­tec­tive brace. Grow­ing up we were al­ways push­ing each other to do stupid things.

When did the friend­ship start?

RICK: Through the lo­cal Oz­tag. Then we made the same foot­ball team about a year later for Suther­land Ju­niors. We, and an­other per­son, were the only un­der age kids so that made a strong bond. Jack was the goal­keeper, I played any­where from cen­tre-back to wing­back.

So you had that de­fen­sive re­la­tion­ship as well?

RICK: Ex­actly. That’s what forged such a great friend­ship and it gave us plenty to talk about af­ter the game. We would rate each other’s per­for­mances. We knew each other’s game in­side and out.

Were you hard mark­ers?

BOTH: Yeah. JACK: Es­pe­cially when you scored an own goal against me. RICK: Yeah, I had a blinder of sea­son back when I was about 13 – the first three games I prob­a­bly scored ev­ery goal. So that didn’t help much. To be fair, Jack’s punched the ball into his own net [Jets v Ade­laide, De­cem­ber 2016]. JACK: Thanks for that…!

Did you have as­pi­ra­tions in foot­ball, Rick?

RICK: Doesn’t ev­ery young boy? But I think when push comes to shove I just didn’t cut it. I prob­a­bly stopped play­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tive-wise at 18,19.

And Jack?

RICK: He al­ways had that am­bi­tion and drive in his life. Ever since he was a lit­tle boy he just al­ways wanted to do that. He knew where he was go­ing even when other peo­ple didn’t have the faith in him.

Do you two talk about what hap­pens on the pitch?

RICK: He’s quite hum­ble when he talks about soc­cer. He doesn’t give too much away. I think it’s a dif­fer­ent story when you get to see him and his dad to­gether, they’ll re­ally break down a whole sea­son. JACK: Rick keeps me kind of grounded in life away from foot­ball. [The game] takes up such a big part of my life and most of the friends I have on a day-to-day ba­sis I play with, or are part of the Jets, so it’s nice to have that bal­ance with Rick as well as my girl­friend Anea.

So chill­ing out these days means?

JACK: He lives in Syd­ney so it’s a bit eas­ier to catch up in the off-sea­son, get out on the wa­ter and have a surf, play some pool... RICK: A cou­ple of beers… I usu­ally have a few plans in my head and then he re­minds me he’s a pro­fes­sional athlete. And I re­spect that. It doesn’t get too rad­i­cal any­more.

But when he hangs up the boots?

JACK: We just spoke about it the other day. RICK: Snow­board­ing. JACK: We’ve both never been to the snow. We’ve done ev­ery­thing else you can do on a board so I think snow­board­ing is the last one to tick.

You re­alise that could be 15 years down the track?

JACK: Hope­fully.

Jack Duncan and Rick de Boer

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.