It may be crunch time in the Rugby League World Cup but Terry Campese’s thoughts haven’t been far from home.
The Queanbeyan Blues captain-coach has been in the ear of his Italian colleagues as he attempts to strengthen his club side for their premiership defence in 2018.
One player Campese has been trying to sell Queanbeyan to is 24-year-old second-rower Gioele Celerino who currently plies his trade for the Tully Tigers in Northern Queensland.
“I put it out there to him that we’d love to have him at the Queanbeyan Blues,” Campese said. “I’d love to get some of the younger kids from Italy as well and develop them into World Cup players.”
The former Australian international believes that getting these younger players over to the Blues would benefit players who were born in Italy.
“We haven’t had anyone during this world cup play for us who was born in Italy,” Campese said. “I’ve hit up management to try and get some of the younger players over, so hopefully in four years’ time you’ll see some of these Italian born players playing in the NRL.”
With Campese struggling with a calf strain, the former Canberra Raiders captain is hoping to be able to run out on to Canberra Stadium once again.
“Hopefully this week it’s better. We’ve had a five day turn around so hopefully it’s got a little more time to repair,” Campese said. “I’ll never give up on running out on Friday just to say thanks to everyone who has had something to do with my career.”
With Friday night’s match likely to be Italy’s last match of the World Cup, Campese is undecided as to whether it will be the last game of his playing career.
“I still love playing, I love the team environment and that’s why I’m still with the Queanbeyan Blues,” Campese said. “Hopefully down the track there is an opportunity in the Queensland Cup, NSW Cup or even the NRL. I’d love to go on and that’s the dream now, to become a coach.”