SETTING SIGHTS ON RESOLUTIONS FOR 2016
KICKING GOALS. CONQUERING KOKODA. HELPING OTHERS. MUSICAL ADVENTURES. FAR NORTH QUEENSLANDERS SHARE THEIR ASPIRATIONS FOR 2016
The head of CQUniversity’s new campus in Cairns loves a challenge and expects plenty in the year ahead. On a personal level, she has set her sights on the Kokoda Track. Professionally, she will welcome the first intake of on-campus students at the city’s newest university. “I had one rule, that if I was given an opportunity, I wouldn’t say no. I would just do it, no matter how afraid I was,” says CQUniversity’s Associate Vice Chancellor in Cairns, Jodie Duignan-George. Opportunity will be knocking in 2016 with largerthan-expected numbers attending CQU Cairns. “We’re starting to get a little worried. We thought we’d start small and build up. We’re not sure we’ll last 18 months where we are, as in we’ll have to expand within 18 months,” she says. “I know there’s going to be lots of challenges. It’s a brand new establishment, but we’ve got new staff, they’re all hungry, they’re all really wanting to be part of something special.” Jodie has also gone for the bold and adventurous away from work. “I’ve always fancied the idea of conquering Kokoda, so 2016 might just be the year. I’ve met so many people who’ve tackled it who said it was one of the best things they’ve ever done.” Northern Pride fullback Linc Port created a new team record when he married his athletic skills with rugby league in 2015 by scoring 24 tries during the Intrust Super Cup season. “I made a goal of scoring more than seven tries last year,” says the 24-year-old Hopevale product. “Then when I got to seven, I just kept making my
goal a little bit higher. As soon as I got to 15, they said the record’s 20. “I ended up breaking it by four tries.” He hasn’t ruled out upping the ante to 25 in 2016. “My dad had a laugh and said ‘imagine if you broke it again in the second year?’. “I had a giggle and said that would be awesome, but my main goal is just getting a start in round one.” Linc says he is excited to be part of an energetic, young squad which has allowed him to develop his performance on the field and explore his leadership potential. “It’s definitely given me a lot of confidence. I’ve always been the shy guy in the background.” The former Wests Tigers contract holder expects to follow his mother into teaching, but admits to having an eye on the NRL. “Being so close last season just drives me to push through that boundary and hopefully pick up a deal.” Tammy Barker’s job takes her around the world for most of the year, but she has one simple wish for 2016. “I’d love to see a lot more of Australia,” says the 38year-old former stuntwoman and radio announcer who holds the dual roles of community relations manager in Cairns and Pro Athlete Liaison for Ironman Asia Pacific. Next year will be huge for Ironman in Cairns, Tammy says. “We’ll still have the Ironman and Ironman 70.3, but we’re going to have the Asia Pacific Championships for the Ironman race. Melbourne has had that for the last three years and now Cairns has it for three years.” While prize money will jump from US$100,000 to US$150,000, there will be more than 100 slots for the all-important Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, up from 50. “We will see way more Japanese athletes coming to this race,” Tammy says. “It’s massive news for the event.”
Three years after wowing judges in Australia’s Got Talent, Rhys Tolhurst is ready to take on the big smoke with a move to Melbourne. Barely out of school uniform when he gave a knockout performance before Brian McFadden, Dannii Minogue, Kyle Sandilands and Todd McKenney, Rhys took to the national stage with all the confidence of Frank Sinatra and the smooth-as-velvet vocals of Michael Bublé. The often acerbic Sandilands waxed lyrical about the teenage “superstar”. The 21-year-old has since become Cairns’ own resident go-to entertainer, jazz crooner, MC, piano man, personality and all-round performer. He’s had a weekly spot on television, done promotional work for radio, hosted Mornings in the Arena at the The Reef Hotel Casino and run entertainment at Pullman Cairns International. But 2016 brings the winds of change. “I’ve been waiting to move to Melbourne, but haven’t regretted my time in Cairns at all,” Rhys says. “In the last couple of years I’ve networked and gained experiences I probably never would have gained if I had moved down earlier. “I’m going down there to improve my exposure in a capital city and focus on my original music, which has come a long way in the last couple of years. I’ve started writing music and decided to pursue that. I want to make sure I work on things I love doing. “I’ve just recorded two singles of my own music, will be releasing both in 2016 and I’m planning a music video.”
LOOKING AHEAD: Jodie Duignan-George, Tammy Barker and Linc Port reflect on 2015 and consider their New Year’s resolutions for 2016.