By Michael McCormick
Great Britain Bulldog and adopted Australian, Luke Matias is a man who has embraced every opportunity that has arisen and epitomises the spirit of the International Cup. In this Q and A session, he reveals another side of the competition and the amazing impact that it has had on his life.
Q. What position do you play for GB?
A. Midfield, with rotations through the half-back line
Q. How long have you played for GB?
A. 10 years. My first appearance for GB was in 2004, followed by Vice-Captaining the squad for the IC in 2005, IC’08 and IC’11.
Q. What’s your fondest memory of your time with the Bulldogs?
A. I love playing in the International Cups. I remember back to my first IC in 2005, being in an environment during the ‘Country Round’ where I was listening to the Samoan team singing random Polynesian songs in perfect harmony, with the South African team and the Japanese team cheerleaders dancing around to it. Never in my life would I have imagined the opportunity to see this! The shear spectacle of seeing differing cultures at war on the field and then coming together off the field is something I will remember for my whole life. I have made many friends from all corners of the world through the three IC’s I have been a part of, and this year I’m looking forward to making some more.
Q. What are your personal goals for the International Cup?
A. The 2011 IC was really injury-effected for me, so firstly I’m really looking at preparation/recovery to ensure I’m ready for the very hectic schedule as one of my personal goals.
Another is to show what opportunities Australia can present to internationals. I came to Australia in 2005 and had no plans to stay any longer than partying for a few months before heading back to the UK. I don’t even remember the plan changing, all I remember is that more and more opportunities presented themselves and with a lot of hard work, Australia has provided me with the most wonderful of family, friends and lifestyle. I will certainly ensure that everyone is aware of what a great place they are coming to visit.
But, without question the main goal for me is to provide a steady leadership and experienced mind to the rest of the squad from a football standpoint. I know the emotional rollercoaster a lot of the boys will be on, so if I can help provide support for the squad, on and off the field, I know I will have accomplished plenty.
Q. What chance do GB have of taking the cup home?
A. Wow, taking the Cup home is a big ask. GB has never finished higher than 6th, so talking suddenly about taking the Cup home is a bit disrespectful to the teams around us. We do certainly have our strongest squad to date so I’d love to think we can have the best IC GB has ever partaken in.
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