North is where the heart lies for Tal­lis

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MICHAEL THOMPSON michael. thompson@ news. com. au

THE man who be­came rugby league’s “Rag­ing Bull” says Townsville will al­ways be the place where he feels truly at peace.

Gor­den Tal­lis re­turns home this week­end ahead of the Fox­tel All In Townsville Tour, where back- to- back shows fea­tur­ing Tal­lis and other stars in­clud­ing Mark Skaife and Mal Meninga will be broad­cast from the Townsville Civic Theatre as part of the Wat­pac Townsville V8 build- up.

First on his sched­ule is the an­nual un­der- 10 Gor­den Tal­lis Cup, which is be­ing played this week­end at the Townsville and Dis­trict Ju­nior Rugby League grounds.

For Tal­lis, who proudly calls him­self a Townsville Cen­trals man, the nos­tal­gia al­ways hits hard when he vis­its home.

“Townsville is the place where feel well and truly re­laxed,” he said.

“It’s hard to de­scribe, but when I come home it feels like I’m in my favourite song.

“Ev­ery­thing feels right and that’s the way it’s al­ways go­ing to be.”

Tal­lis, the son of leg­endary North Queens­land rugby league stal­wart Wally Tal­lis, made his first foray into rugby league at Cen­trals and was a for­mer stu­dent at Cur­ra­jong State School.

At 19 he moved to Syd­ney and played for St Ge­orge- Illawarra from 1992 to 1995, play­ing in the 1993 grand fi­nal loss to Bris­bane and mak­ing his Queens­land State of Ori­gin de­but a year later.

Sit­ting out the 1996 sea­son dur­ing the con­tro­ver­sial Su­per League com­pe­ti­tion, Tal­lis launched his now leg­endary Bron­cos’ ca­reer in 1997 and went on to play 160 games with the NRL pow­er­houses.

Now a Bron­cos’ Hall of Famer, Tal­lis is re­luc­tant to pledge his al­le­giance to one club.

An am­bas­sador with the Gold Coast Ti­tans and also a for­mer Cow­boys board mem­ber, Tal­lis says for him Queens­land comes first.

“I love all three Queens­land clubs,” he said.

“I’m a North Queens­lan­der, sim­ple as that, and I’m proud at what the Cow­boys have been able to achieve.

“The Bron­cos were a mas­sive part of my ca­reer and I’ve got a lot to be I thank­ful to them for. And I’ve cur­rently got a role at the Ti­tans, so my heart is with all the Queens­land NRL clubs.”

Tal­lis, who also played his way into State of Ori­gin folk­lore with some of the great­est on- field mo­ments and spats the game has ever seen, says he can still clearly re­mem­ber his Townsville child­hood.

“When I grew up here, and this is a sign of how old I’m get­ting, there were no mo­bile phones that ev­ery kid seems to have now,” he said.

“The rules in Townsville much were once the street came on you had to be at home. pretty lights

“That’s the way it was and sport was a mas­sive part of the North Queens­land cul­ture, our lives re­volved around it and it was ev­ery­one’s cup of tea up here.”

Tal­lis be­lieves the North Queens­land com­mu­nity has ev­ery rea­son to be con­fi­dent the Cow­boys can con­tinue their premier­ship surge de­spite be­ing with­out co- cap­tain Johnathan Thurston for the rest of the sea­son.

“Life with­out JT will be tough at times, but how many games did they play with­out him this sea­son al­ready?” he said.

“He missed a few games and they still did all right, and now they have Te Maire Martin, Morgo ( Michael Mor­gan) and Lach­lan Coote who are all ca­pa­ble of steer­ing them around.

“You can’t be a one- man team and win a grand fi­nal, so I think they’ll still be a big threat.”

The Fox­tel All In Townsville Tour is free and open to the public, with gates open­ing on Wed­nes­day at 3pm

To reg­is­ter visit www. fox­tel. com/ townsvil­le­tour. Wed­nes­day broad­cast times: In­side Su­per­cars and Queens­lan­ders Only 4pm- 5.15pm and 5.30pm- 6.15pm. League Life 7.30pm – 8pm. Paul Mur­ray LIVE 9pm – 11pm.

RAG­ING BULL: Fox Sports pre­sen­ter Gor­don Tal­lis will re­turn to Townsville Tal­lis play­ing for the Ma­roons in the 2003 State of Ori­gin se­ries ( in­set). as part of the Fox­tel All in Tour ( main) and Pic­ture: DY­LAN ROBIN­SON

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