Child’s play for Munster
MOST weeks Cameron Munster finds himself standing in front of children. What the impressionable youngsters don’t know is Munster is getting more out of the weekly sessions than those budding footballers could ever know.
This is part of the evolution of Munster. A prized talent with rough edges.
After being sent home briefly from Australia’s World Cup campaign last year, Munster knew he needed to find more of a purpose than just his onfield performances. He devised a plan with Melbourne Storm sport psychologist Jackie Lauder which would see him start working with children.
“It’s something I needed to change,” Munster said of his behaviour. “I don’t go out as much now. I worry about other things in life that I enjoy doing like golf and doing a couple of clinics with kids.
“It’s something I really enjoy. Jackie decided for me to do it and mentioned that I was really good with kids.”
Lauder reached out to Coach Approach director and friend Libby Kirchner, whose company takes elite athletes into schools and run sporting programs.
Munster is paid for his weekly appearances. But he is yet to claim a dollar. Instead he has told Kirchner to donate every cent to Diabetes Australia.
“The Storm like getting their players out and doing things for themselves,” Kirchner said. “We thought Cameron could not only teach the kids but also learn from them.
“I was aware of his past but I’ve learnt Cameron will do anything for anyone. It’s having a focus in life and knowing that you are an inspiration to so many. When you have 100 kids in front of you, they only see what you’re doing that day. It’s only the adults who know your past.
“Next year I’ll be getting him to do an hour talk to the older kids as well.”
Munster has been a constant at the programs this year. The only time he has made himself unavailable was during the State of Origin series and this week leading into today’s grand final.
“Reliability,” Kirchner says when asked to describe Munster. “I find a lot of professional athletes sometimes say they are going to be there and they aren’t. Cam gives me a whole month plan and tells me where his days off are.
“If he commits he is always there. He could go on and study teaching and coaching. I have a 13- and 16-year-old and they both look up to him.
“He is always the last at the schools signing autographs.”
Munster’s on-field performance has benefited from a more settled life off the field.
He will feature in his third successive grand final today with his influence never greater. In his first season he had the freedom of playing at fullback while last year he had the safety blanket of Cooper Cronk.
Munster said he had taken on a bigger role.
“Since Cooper’s gone I’ve had to take on more of a role,” Munster said. “If you asked us when Coops left if we would make the top four and be in the grand final — probably not. But a lot of hard work has gone though (to make it happen).
“If you told me at the start of my career I would end up in three grand finals in three years I would’ve laughed.”