Lo­cal vol­un­teers get their hands on World Cup

Townsville Bulletin - - RUGBY LEAGUE - MICHAEL THOMP­SON

THE 2017 Rugby League World Cup is call­ing for Townsville’s Shane Culling, John Mul­herin and Joanne Thom­son.

The trio are among 46 lo­cal vol­un­teers tak­ing part in this year’s World Cup, which fea­tures three games at 1300SMILES Sta­dium, and yes­ter­day they got their hands on the tro­phy to cel­e­brate the 100- day count­down un­til kick­off on Oc­to­ber 27.

All the fun be­gins in Townsville on Oc­to­ber 28 when the USA take on Fiji, fol­lowed by a dou­ble- header on Novem­ber 5 fea­tur­ing games be­tween USA and Italy and Wales and Fiji.

For Culling, who will vol­un­teer as a work­force op­er­a­tions as­sis­tant, the World Cup rep- re­sents yet an­other big chap­ter in his suc­cess­ful ca­reer of work­ing in rugby league.

“It’s been over 20 years ex­pe­ri­ence for me be­ing in­volved with rugby league as a match of­fi­cial,” he said.

“I ref­er­eed Barter­card Cup in New Zealand and then moved over to Aus­tralia nine years ago.

“Un­for­tu­nately due to diabetes I’ve lost a bit of my foot, so I couldn’t run around the field any more.

“Now I’m more in­volved with match re­view, ref­er­ee­ing and coach­ing.

“We have a say­ing back home that rugby league is more than just than a game, and for me it’s a life­style.”

Thom­son, who will act as a host city as­sis­tant, is a fa­mil­iar face around lo­cal league cir- cles, hav­ing been sec­re­tary of TDRL club North Devils for the past five years.

A pas­sion­ate fan of the lo­cal game, Thom­son is ea­ger to see Townsville em­brace its three World Cup games.

“It’s great for the com­mu­nity and the kids,” she said.

“For the ju­niors it’s great for them to see where they could go with their rugby league.”

Mul­herin, who at­tends James Cook Uni­ver­sity, is vol­un­teer­ing as a li­ai­son of­fi­cer.

“You love com­ing down to watch the footy, let alone be­ing part of a World Cup,” he said.

“It was too good of an op­por­tu­nity to pass up and it’s ex­cit­ing to see the World Cup tro­phy ac­tu­ally here.”

Tick­ets for the World Cup can be pur­chased at rlwc2017. com

PAS­SION­ATE FANS: John Mul­herin, Shane Culling and Joanne Thom­son have put their hands up to vol­un­teer at this year’s Rugby League World Cup. Pic­ture: SCOTT RAD­FORD- CHISHOLM

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