Rugby League World Cup: Australia’s Josh Addo-Carr on ‘turning life around’

Hosts: England Dates: From October 15 to November 19
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and online; Live commentary from Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra; Live texts and highlights on the BBC Sport website and app

A week into the Rugby League World Cup, one star has already emerged.

The 27-year-old winger looks unstoppable.

But it was almost so different.

“I had a little girl, Shakirah. I was 16 when I had her and she turned my life around,” he told BBC Sport.

“I dropped out of school, I was 15 or 16 at this point. I was couch surfing and stuff like that.

“I was in trouble with the law at the time and being in that situation definitely woke me up because I thought I was invincible before.

“[My daughter’s birth] it was probably the turning point.

“I literally had to start from the bottom in terms of trying to make a representative team. I signed up online and got a chance to try out for a team and now here I am, at the World Cup.

“I never in a million years thought I’d be wearing the Australia jersey.”

Addo-Carr made his NRL debut for the Wests Tigers in 2016 before switching to the Melbourne Storm in 2017, with whom he won two NRL grand finals.

Now at the Canterbury Bulldogs, he introduced himself at this year’s World Cup with a stunning long-range try 24 minutes into his side’s match with Fiji.

It was a breakthrough moment for the man nicknamed “The Foxx,” who “loves to be around people” but is “quite lonely” around him.

“I’m one of 13, I was very blessed to have a big family,” he said. “I think that’s why I hate being alone because I’m around family all the time.

“I grew up in Sydney and we moved around a lot as a kid. My mum always took me to my footy games.

“Anything that has to do with sports, I would give it a red thumbs up.

“School just wasn’t for me. I wasn’t the kind of person to sit in front of a whiteboard or blackboard and concentrate.”

Addo-Carr is the grandson of former Australian boxer Wally Carr.

“He had over 101 professional fights,” Addo-Carr added. “He set a benchmark for me and my family and I’m trying to follow in his footsteps and inspire young Indigenous kids.

“I want to make my grandad proud, obviously, I want to make my family proud. I want to make Australia proud to be honest. I want to put a smile on the faces of people back home.”

Addo-Carr’s Australia face Italy in the final Group B match on Saturday, October 29 at 7.30pm.

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