Giselle lifted Origin gloom for O’Neill
COWBOYS centre Justin O’Neill says fatherhood helped ease the disappointment of being dropped by Queensland, crediting daughter Giselle for “putting things in perspective”.
O’Neill was overlooked for the last two Origins which the Maroons won to secure an 11th series win in 12 years after they were belted 28- 4 in Origin I.
Disappointed and sporting a black eye at Townsville Airport after that game, O’Neill was greeted by his wife Chantelle and his nine- month- old daughter.
Having that support has been crucial in helping him focus on the Cowboys premiership charge, which continues with Saturday night’s Women In League round clash against the Warriors in Townsville.
“It’s important when things don’t go as planned. It always helps having that support and coming home to a little baby girl. It puts things in perspective,” O’Neill said.
“It’s not the end of the world and there’s always better things in life, although some things don’t go according to plan on the footy field.
“You hear the fellas say all the time their other half is their rock and foundation. Rugby league is an up and down career and having someone to support you is big.”
O’Neill said watching the Maroons turn around the series was tough, but was pleased for Cowboys teammate Michael Morgan who played in influential role in the centres in Origin III.
“It was hard, I definitely wanted to be a part of it but I supported the boys,” O’Neill said.
“To see the boys get up after all the injuries and what they had to get through to get that win was awesome.
“He ( Morgan) is great at running the ball and you see when he gets the ball in his hands for us he’s dangerous.”
Playing guitar is another of O’Neill’s outlets away from football, and already enjoys some “jam sessions” with Giselle.
“I play a few reggae songs, I let her do most of it and try and teach her a few things,” O’Neill said. “The first couple of hours ( on road trips) you think it’s going to be a good chance to get some sleep, but as soon as we get into the hotel I’m straight onto Face Time and want to see her again.”
Chantelle said this week’s Women In League round was great recognition for the con- tribution women make to the game across all levels.
“It’s nice acknowledgment for all the behind the scenes things we do,” she said. “Having Giselle and playing footy is a different thing for him now, you’re playing for your family.”