BOMBALA’S own Joe Bobbin is playing the game he loves on the other side of the world with the Jacksonville Axemen in the USA.
Bobbin first put on a Bombala Blue Heelers jersey as a junior and now he’s making his mark playing the sport on an international stage.
Since May Bobbin has been signed with the Jacksonville Axemen, one of the leading teams in the United States of America Rugby League (USARL).
The Axemen are currently undefeated champions of the Southern USARL.
Bobbin’s proud mother Dinah Coleman said Joe loves the sport and finds it ironic that he eventually became an axeman.
“Like most country kids, as a teenager he used to do the woodchopping circuit and when he signed with the Canberra Raiders they made him stop, for insurance reasons, they thought it was too dangerous,” Ms Coleman said.
“We all had a good laugh at that because running out on the field playing football is pretty dangerous too and they thought woodchopping was dangerous.
“Now he’s playing football with the Axemen.”
Bobbin played for the Bombala Blue Heelers when he was in primary school and was awarded best and fairest for many years.
When numbers fell in the Bombala team he changed to the Cooma Colts where he had a great run, finding his position as full-back.
Bobbin’s under 16s Cooma Colts team was undefeated and he was quickly picked out by selectors from the Canberra Raiders.
He soon showed his strength and determination with the Raiders, playing the Toyota Cup and travelling to Fiji with the side.
Ms Coleman admits she misses her son now that he lives aboard but that this is all part of him doing what he loves.
“I think it’s great, he’s a young person who is following his passion,” she said.
“I guess I’m used to him living away because he moved to Canberra when he played for the Raiders and that was hard because he was a teenager and I was worried about drugs and all you hear about football is about bad behaviour.
“But the Raiders have a strong sense of teamwork and mateship.
“Joe has a great attitude to his health, fitness and the sport.
“He’s now taken that over to the USA and it’s not often you hear about the good stories like that in the sport.
“I’ve always told him it’s about choices, he has the rest of his life to party and that right now you have the opportunity to play football, so you should do it.”
Bobbin’s family will be watching the game on the USARL website this Sunday.
The National Champ-ionship is played on Saturday, August 23, and is streamed live at 9am Sunday, August 24 (AEST).