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The secret redemption of Anthony Watmough

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by shauneagle, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. shauneagle

    shauneagle Active Member

    +11 /0

  2. torana355

    torana355 Well-Known Member Premium Member

    +2,093 /36
    RE: choc

    Good on him. Its good to read some positive stuff.
  3. Jethro

    Jethro This space is for rent Staff Member Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

    +2,307 /13
    RE: choc

    Great story and it is the sort of stuff that the media should promote instead of the negative stuff (and not only towards Manly but to the NRL in general).
  4. dowdz

    dowdz Well-Known Member Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

    +1,079 /12
    RE: choc

    Well done Choc. Great positive story.
  5. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan

    +2,125 /14
    THIS is the story Anthony Watmough didn't want written - the one about him volunteering his time to help Sydney's homeless. Phil Rothfield reports


    IT'S 11pm, Monday, Darlinghurst Rd, King Cross.

    A couple of prostitutes are on the prowl. This is the last place you'd want to bump into an NRL footballer preparing for the finals.

    But tonight is not about beer, bourbon and bad behaviour, or nearby player haunts like the Sapphire Suite or Courthouse Hotel.

    It's nothing like it. A van pulls up at Green Park, opposite the notorious wall on Darlinghurst Rd where Sydney's homeless are gathered, their desperation only visible from the soft moonlight on their faces.

    They queue in the same spot every night, 365 days a year, to get a hot meal, a cordial and a cup of tea before finding a bench to curl up on.

    Out jumps a big, thick-set man - Anthony “Choc'' Watmough, the Manly, Origin and Kangaroo second-rower, and a bad boy with a list of alcohol-related offences as long as the harbour bridge.

    This is the story Watmough didn't want told. He is not into public relations because he's seen other villains like Todd Carney supposedly get rehabilitated but then fail to live up to it. I was tipped off by his coach Des Hasler back in April that the wayward second-rower was doing private volunteer and charity work.

    Every request to do a story was rejected, so on Monday night we just went out to do it. He will not talk but his actions speak much louder than any words could.

    Watmough arrives at Father Chris Riley's Youth Off The Streets hostel at Marrickville at 9pm where they prepare the food and drinks.

    He is reminded to keep to himself and not to initiate conversations with the young boys and girls who reside there, who have come from a variety of backgrounds and are likely to have been abused or have substance addictions.

    A couple recognise Watmough and start talking footy while he's preparing dinner. Tonight's menu is a beef stew, spaghetti with sausages and Crispy Kreme doughnuts for dessert.

    He and other volunteers load the food van at about 10.30pm for the drive across town to Darlinghurst.

    About 30 homeless people, ranging in age from early teens to their 60s, are gathered on the side of the road and hanging out for a meal.

    As soon as the van stops, they step forward to open a hatch on the side from where the food is served.

    Anything to get their meals faster.

    Watmough is inside in jeans, joggers, a sloppy joe and disposable white gloves preparing to serve. He looks anything but the footy hardman in the body-hugging Maroon jersey we see on the park each weekend.

    Most of these desperate people have no idea the man who has prepared and is handing out their dinner is a $400,000-a-year State of Origin star.

    “There you go champ, enjoy,'' Watmough says in that rough, ocker voice of his as he scoops beef stew into a small polystyrene dish.

    “Here you go mate, take it easy buddy,'' he says to the next in line, a poor, sad kid who looks no older than 14.

    He's later recognised by a couple of the homeless boys when he gets out of the van to hand out doughnuts.

    Anonymous hero: Manly Sea Eagles Anthony Watmough helps the team from Father Chris Riley's Youth Of the Streets to feed homeless people at Green Park, Darlinghurst. Picture: Gregg Porteous
    Source: The Daily Telegraph
    He watches as a Salvation Army van pulls up 20m away to offer blankets.

    This is so no longer the confident and often harsh Watmough we've come to know.

    His facial expressions shift from a look of satisfaction in what he's doing to genuine sadness for these lives that have gone horribly wrong.

    Watmough has two children of his own from a previous relationship. They live in Brisbane: a daughter Claudia, 11, and son Jake, 9

    He is committed emotionally and financially to his ex-partner and raising the children in the best possible way. Claudia has just spent two weeks with him in Sydney.

    “He would do anything for his kids,'' says one Manly official.

    “He's a loyal, passionate and sometimes larger-than-life personality who people don't really understand. Above all, he will do anything for those that he cares about.''

    Still, he's got that reputation as one of the most ill-disciplined players in the NRL.

    Earlier this year, Watmough was hauled in by Sea Eagles management and told his $400,000 contract was headed for the paper shredder with one more misdemeanour.

    There were reports his papers had been stamped ”never to play representative football again'', and only a private meeting with Hasler and NSW and Australian selector Bob Fulton at a Narrabeen coffee shop saved his rep career and helped turn his life around.

    But there's still a long way to go.

    The Sea Eagles star was recently back in the headlines when his hotel room was trashed after NSW's victory over Queensland in the second State of Origin game. The story was incorrectly reported.

    Half a dozen Blues players had, in fact, returned to his room at about 3am. Boys will be boys and Choc will be Choc. A glass was dropped and broken, a player cut his foot and a drink was spilt on the carpet.

    The NSWRL got a bill for professional cleaners and Watmough and four other players paid up. One Blues official told me it looked worse because Watmough's room-mate Anthony Minichiello sleeps with the mattress on the floor due to a back injury and it was still on the floor when they checked out.

    His on-field discipline has started to improve. Fox Sports statistics show last year he was the most heavily penalised player in the competition. This season he's cut the penalties back by 30 per cent.

    If you need further proof, jump on to YouTube and punch in “Manly v Storm Brookvale Brawl''.

    Last year Watmough would have been the first to charge in throwing haymakers, but the video shows him acting as peacemaker this time, putting his big arms around Adam Blair and dragging him away from wild punches.

    When the fight between Glenn Stewart and Blair resumed on the sideline, Watmough charged in - but only to pull Storm winger Matt Duffie away from the centre of it. It was another example of a changed man.

    Anthony Watmough is certainly not perfect, but better for the experiences of the last six months. He's at least on the road to redemption.

    And the homeless on the mean streets of Sydney have found a friend.

    Follow Phil Rothfield on Twitter @BuzzRothfield

  6. Napper

    Napper Well-Known Member

    +803 /2
    What a deadset ****ing champion!!! What a great story.
  7. Cameron

    Cameron Cambo

    +669 /35
    Great story for choc and the club.
    Hey Swoop looks like he is trying to be like you boy gallenn turn things around
  8. DSM5

    DSM5 Well-Known Member

    +516 /0
    It's about time the club had some good press. I was beginning to think that the only thing on the back pages of the papers were predictions that the Tigers were off to the Vatican for a public blessing before their pre-ordained win in the GF and that 'Darren' would be elevated to sainthood.
  9. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

    +2,376 /60
    Rothfield gets some big points for putting some perspective into the incessant anti-Manly press we've been receiving, fostered and incited in large part by Gallop.

    And huge, huge wraps for Choc.

    The efforts of Choc and Matai in putting a lid on the Brookie brawl went largely unnoticed by the press. Their discipline overall has been markedly improved this year.

    They say the pre-frontal cortex in males generally doesn't fully develop until around 30. The prefrontal cortex is central in making sound judgements. That's why insurance premiums for under 25 drivers are extortionate. Looks like both Matai & Choc are becoming senior leaders in the team.
  10. The Wheel

    The Wheel Well-Known Member

    +2,756 /88
    Great story, maybe the change in the way we undertake public relations and media releases has started already
  11. bones

    bones Bones Knows

    +9,037 /102
    It's about time the Telegraph reported some good stories instead of the usual crap they dish up.
  12. swoop

    swoop Well-Known Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

    +1,543 /26
    Credit where credits due, good onya choc. He could have got the ****s when he fined or take in on the chin. He did the latter and it is reflected by his peformances on the field. He's been outstanding on the field lately because imo he cleaned up his off-field behaviour. Well done Choc.
  13. WAMF

    WAMF Well-Known Member

    +408 /0
    lol. Have a proper read of the article. Choc had refused/ignored requests to allow the DT to come with him one night for the story. Further, when the DT showed up uninvited and unannounced, he didn't speak to them.
    There goes your theory although I'm certain the club is aware of the need for change.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Cameron

      Cameron Cambo

      +669 /35
      do you feel like you are been listened to mate.
      First this and then you were one yelling out for more positive news about the club
    • swoop

      swoop Well-Known Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

      +1,543 /26
      Exactly what I'm talking about.
    • Dan

      Dan Kim Jong Dan Staff Member Administrator 2016 Tipping Competitor 2017 Tipping Competitor

      +7,735 /120
      RE: choc

      Awesome story, and great to see some humility left in peope.
    • master blaster

      master blaster Well-Known Member

      +858 /5
      well,the that woman( wilson) wont like this one bit,she will probably try and tear it apart,anyway good onya choc,well done
    • Rodo

      Rodo Goldmember 2017 Tipping Competitor

      +692 /20
      RE: choc

      Great positive story by Rothfield.

      I've been very impressed with Choc's attitude in the second half of the season and this is probably one of the reasons why. It's a good way to put your life into perspective and show that there are many people in the world who are less fortunate than you.

      I have a friend who regularly helps at the food vans and shelters so I'll have to ask him now if he has met Choc.
    • Rex

      Rex Well-Known Member

      +2,376 /60
      In the shallow world of public relations you'd invite the press to see all the good work you're doing.
    • manlyfan76

      manlyfan76 Parra Trolls are the best. Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

      +8,033 /174
      Imagine Bec Wilsons version of this story
      "Choc seen out visiting prostitues and Drug addicts 11pm on a Monday night"

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