My Australian adventure ended with a trip to Australia Zoo and a stay in the capital Sydney,
The zoo is most famous for being the home of the ‘Crocodile Hunter’ Steve Irwin and his family. As well as meeting various wildlife including crocs, koalas and snakes we made friends with an Australian couple who had travelled down the east coast from Darwin.
Pete is 27 and played in the youth setup at Brisbane Roar (back when they were called Queensland Lions) before a serious knee injury ended his career. Even with the time difference he told me he tries to watch every English game on Fox Sports.
He has a Welsh father and Australian mother, and we were quickly on to the topic of the dismal Rugby World Cup back in England. I never thought I’d come across one person with dual nationalities that had both defeated mine in a matter of days!
As a football fan who is proud of his Welsh background Pete knew of ex-Reds manager Dean Saunders and spoke highly of him. He supported Aston Villa as a kid because they were going strong in the league at the time and beat Manchester United in the League Cup final, with Saunders grabbing a brace. He knew DS was in charge at the Checkatrade.com Stadium for the concluding half of the 2014-15 season, but knew little about the Reds.
In Sydney we met up with Pete’s girlfriend, Kate, who was travelling down to Melbourne to see some family. She said that Pete had been on the phone to his dad, talking about football and in particular Saunders, Villa and the Reds. Hopefully Pete’s old man filled him in with some useful Crawley Town trivia.
Even though the Crocodile Hunter didn’t support the Reds himself, no one ever knew of the canine connection between the Irwin family and the club…