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