The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - JAMES PHELPS

The foot­balling sons do­ing their dads proud

ETHAN O’Neill might be the only young foot­baller ever to de­clare he does not want to fol­low in his fa­mous father’s foot­steps.

At least when it comes to what his dad did when he was not on a rugby league field.

Ethan, the son of Ju­lian O’Neill, has vowed “not” to make the mis­takes of his no­to­ri­ous father with the ris­ing Rooster re­veal­ing his dad has al­ready warned him “Don’t be like me”.

“Dad has told me all the sto­ries about the al­co­hol,’’ Ethan said. “And told me to learn from his mis­takes.’’

Ethan is among the new breed of ‘‘Sons of Guns’’ des­tined for the NRL. The 188cm cen­tre hopes to soon join Mitchell Pearce (father Wayne), Paul Carter (Steve), and Ryan Mat­ter­son (Paul) in the NRL with the Roost­ers.

And while he shares his fa- ther’s po­si­tion, physique and foot­balling bril­liance, the 18year-old has de­clared that is where the sim­i­lar­i­ties end.

“I am noth­ing like Dad away from the field,’’ Ethan said. “And he has cer­tainly given me plenty of ad­vice to make sure I don’t do the things he did.’’

Ju­lian’s ca­reer was over­shad­owed by a litany of off-field in­ci­dents. The 11-game Queensland Ori­gin star had two NRL con­tracts ter­mi­nated due to al­co­hol­re­lated in­ci­dents and on a sep­a­rate oc­ca­sion was in strife for defe­cat­ing in a team­mate’s shoe.

But there is no es­cap­ing the on-field com­par­isons.

“My grand­par­ents tell me I look ex­actly the same as Dad on the field,’’ Ethan said. “They think it is him run­ning out ev­ery time I take the field. I run like him and play like him a bit ap­par­ently. We have a bit of the same tech­nique which must be in the genes. I am a young ver­sion of him.’’

O’Neill cred­ited an­other fa­mous foot­baller for his de­vel­op­ment. “To be hon­est Adrian Lam has been the big­gest in­flu­ence as he has been coach­ing me since I was about 15,’’ O’Neill said.

Jack Johns. Pic­ture: Peter Lorimer

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