CAMPBELL Graham gets to live his Hoops dream – while hopefully leaving one half of his family down in the dumps.
For had this World Cup been held when it was originally scheduled for last year, he would have been wearing a Scotland kit as he honours Celtic-daft father Stewart.
Now he is one of the Australia side looking to knock over the Bravehearts in Coventry tonight, mother Lisa’s home city.
And had eligibility rules been different, he admits he could have been wearing an England shirt.
South Sydney back rower Graham sounds as Australian as they come but his background is firmly in this country as his mum met his dad while she was travelling Down Under.
And until he got the call from Kangaroos boss Mal Meninga, he was gearing up to put a smile on his Easterhouses, Glasgow-raised old man’s face by playing for his homeland.
Now his eyes are firmly set on impressing the gaggle of relatives who will be cheering him on against Scotland, who as a tier two nation he could have played for and still been eligible for Australia.
“Had this been last year, I’d most likely have been in a Scotland shirt,” said Graham. “Until a few weeks ago, I thought I’d be in one this time around too.
“I’d had a couple of conversations with their coach and maybe that opportunity will come later in my career and I’ll be extremely proud to represent my dad’s side of my heritage.
“England was also thrown up a couple of years ago but as they’re a tier one nation, I would never have ruled out my eligibility for Australia. For me, it’s the pinnacle.
“I was never along the line of getting selected but it was tossed up and I made it clear Australia’s where I want to play my representative rugby.
“Now I’m really excited to get back over here – I haven’t been since I was about two-years-old – so I wanted to see what the hype was about – and why she left!
“She doesn’t really say too much about Coventry, other than there’s nice countryside around it but I’m really excited to see all my family
“I’ve a lot of aunties, uncles and cousins still there – they’ll hopefully be in the stands cheering Australia on!
“My mum, dad and brother will also be over for the game. Dad’s still got a thick Scottish accent and mum’s got her Pommie accent too.”
The miles from Glasgow to Sydney may be huge but that has not dulled Stewart’s love for football heroes Celtic.
And Graham revealed just how he has been with him when he indulges his passion.
The 23-year-old added: “He still loves Celtic. He’s part of the Celtic supporters’ club in Sydney and they all gather to watch games at Scruffy Murphy’s pub.
“I’ve watched with him when I was younger but not too many recently – he’s a huge fan of rugby league now.
“I think he was a little heartbroken when I switched from football to rugby league, I played until I was nine-years-old, but he’s come around.
“Football’s his passion but he loves rugby league more than I do – and he still makes me call it football!”
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