Raiders utility forward Travis Waddell is looking forward to adding to his extended family’s impressive list of sporting achievements when he takes the field for the Indigenous All Stars in the season opener at Skilled Park on February 4.
Waddell, who has retained the starting hooker role in the Indigenous side after playing both All Stars clashes to date, boasts impressive sporting links – with Broncos fullback Josh Hoffman and AFL duo Daniel and Stephen Motlop among his talented cousins.
Waddell told NRL.com his fondest memories were of playing backyard football with his relatives.
“I grew up in Proserpine, up in the Whitsundays – my mum’s from Bardoo Island in the Torres Strait, and my dad’s Aboriginal; he’s from Darwin,” Waddell said.
“I started playing for the Proserpine Brahmans, under-6s until under-17s, and then I moved away and had one year with Souths Logan and then to the Canberra Raiders.”
Waddell said he was happy to get the chance to represent his Indigenous heritage again, but admitted he would be churning inside with nerves in the lead-up.
“I’m very proud to represent my family and my people, so, just glad to be in the side again,” he said.
“It’s very exciting, very nervous… I got a very weird feeling before the game because I’d never played in something so big before… to play it again is awesome, to play with Johnathan Thurston and Scotty Prince and all the big names in the League.”
Waddell said Thurston would have no problems adjusting to his new role at five-eighth and expected the Cowboys and Queensland superstar to lead by example.
“Of course, he plays awesome every game – I haven’t seen him play a bad game, so everyone’s expecting him to play good,” he said.