ZELIC ON THE BALL FOR CUP

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - News - Holly Byrnes

LUCY Zelic was just a year into her TV ca­reer when SBS en­trusted the young pre­sen­ter with host­ing du­ties for the last World Cup.

Fronting 32 matches and live World Cup shows from the broad­caster’s Syd­ney stu­dios was the break of a life­time, with the added pres­sure and thrill of throw­ing down the line to com­men­tat­ing colos­sus Les Mur­ray on the ground in Brazil.

Fast for­ward four years and the more sea­soned Zelic will get her start at the game’s big dance, this time live from Rus­sia – a ma­jor mo­ment for many rea­sons, but most sig­nif­i­cantly for the SBS team, the first World Cup with­out Mur­ray, who died last year.

As Zelic tells TV Guide: “It will be quite a try­ing time for us emo­tion­ally as we look ahead, be­cause he was the king, to put it sim­ply.”

Car­ry­ing on his legacy is one thing, she says, mak­ing her own mark in his honour an­other, she ex­plains.

“One of the great things about Les was not only did he teach Aus­tralians about the sport at a time when it was highly dis­re­garded and dis­crim­i­nated against but he taught Aus­tralians what it meant to peo­ple but also that there was a far big­ger pic­ture … as the most pop­u­lar sport on the planet,” she says.

While the host na­tion Rus­sia has raised some con­cerns, Zelic has no qualms about it, mak­ing a vow to her­self to en­joy this Cup ex­pe­ri­ence more than she did four years ago.

“I didn’t en­joy it be­cause I was far too con­cerned with not screw­ing it up, whereas now I feel like I’ll be able to en­joy drink­ing in mo­ments a lot more and re­ally savour them,” she says.

Tak­ing an­other leaf out of Mur­ray’s book of life lessons, Zelic has done her re­search on each Cup team (Ger­many’s her tip, with Eng­land a dark horse); as well as the sto­ries be­yond the player form guides.

“With­out Les there to im­part all his wis­dom, Fos [co-host Craig Foster] and I feel … in fact, the en­tire on-air team … we feel like we’ve taken it upon our­selves to re­ally go that ex­tra mile this time, to do his legacy jus­tice but also to do the World Cup jus­tice. This is what it’s about.”

FIFA WORLD CUP 2018: PRE­VIEW SHOW 10.30PM, THURS­DAY, SBS

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