The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page - WORDS// ROZ PUL­LEY

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.


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