JUSTIN O’NEILL COWBOYS
Finish the following sentence: If I ran the NRL for a day, I’d . . .
There’s a lot of footy played throughout the year and a lot of teams struggle with that Origin period. There’s been a lot of chat about what to do with those games, whether you don’t play the club games at the same time as Origin or whatever. I think they could make that period fairer to teams, but apart from that I wouldn’t change much.
The funniest thing I’ve seen on a league field is . . .
A few streakers over the years, some in games I’ve played and others I’ve seen on TV. One guy didn’t get his kit fully off, but unfortunately for him he got belted by one of the security guards.
What’s the weirdest pre-match routine you’ve seen from a teammate?
You know those massive cans of Mother? Scott Bolton drinks one before a game. The guy next to me, Kyle Feldt, has to hang his mouthguard up on the hook when he comes into the dressing-room before a game. Ethan Lowe has to put his right sock and right boot on first – just stuff like that. Scott is buzzing after one of those drinks.
What’s the best spray you’ve seen someone cop off a coach?
I’ve been coached by “Bellyache” [Craig Bellamy] so I had my fair share early on in my career. I did something really stupid in a game one time and copped a massive spray at half-time.
Who’s the biggest clown at the Cowboys? Got any examples of what he gets up to?
Michael Morgan. He’s always playing tricks. I know he comes across like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth in interviews, but he’s deceiving; he’s a joker . . . He’ll take the cap off a bottle, fill it with water and then sneeze really loudly into it behind you and make sure the water sprays all over the back of your neck, that sort of thing.
Which team did you support as a kid? Do you still have a soft spot for them?
I was a Cowboys fan, growing up in Townsville. I liked the Broncos as well, but strictly Cowboys now, obviously.
Which team-mate would you never want to be tackled by?
Jason Taumalolo. I wouldn’t want to tackle him, either.
What’s your dream holiday, if time and money weren’t a problem?
There’s a music festival in Belgium called Tomorrowland, but it’s always on when we’re halfway through the season here, so I’ve never been able to get to it. If I had time off, I’d go there.
If you weren’t playing footy, what would you be doing for a living?
I don’t mind getting hands-on and building stuff in the shed, so I’d probably be a carpenter. I’ve put a few things together in my time.
How old were you when you first played league? Which team were you with?
I was nine or 10 and it was for Hughenden Hawks, west of Townsville. I did Little Athletics before that. I used to do sprinting – I was a bit of a flyer.
Have you got a league superstition? Is there something you do before each game for good luck, or an item of clothing you always wear?
I’m pretty cruisy. The only thing I do like to do before a game is listen to music, but if I forget to bring my headphones I’m not too fussed.