Luke Carroll's My Souths Story
Luke Carroll is an Australian actor and a regular host of ABC's Play School, the longest running children's show in Australian history. He's also a proud supporter of one of the longest running rugby league club's in Australia. The South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Hailing from the working class inner city suburb of Woolloomooloo, Carroll is a proud Wiradjuri man who credits his love for the Cardinal and Myrtle from the most inspirational person in his life. His mother.
"My mother is the biggest influence as to why I am a Rabbitohs supporter, she was a Rabbitohs supporter herself and she made sure that I followed in her footsteps," says Carroll with a sense of reflection.
A respected elder within the local community, Carroll's mother passed away earlier in the year surrounded by loved ones. The thought of her passing still brings a tear to Luke's eye, whilst waves of the fondest memories flood and flow throughout his thoughts.
"Loves her Rabbitohs, loves the Bunnies, she had the bunny teddy bears in her bed in hospital before she passed away."
"Willie Peters, who's on the coaching staff got the boys to send through some condolences through video messages which was absolutely fantastic and mum's eyes lit up. It was a great thing for Willie to be able do that for me."
Cody Walker who's a great mate of mine made a special trip up to the hospital bed to see mum which personally I'll never forget that.Carroll
"I get pretty emotional talking about, I'll never forget what Cody did for me and what the boys did for me personally," says a remorseful Carroll.
The countless matches that his mother would have witnessed, the player messages and Cody's visit would not be the only time she would be welcomed by the Rabbitohs family. This year's Indigenous Round handed her an experience that would stay with her for life.
"During Indigenous Round this year it was also Mother's Day and mum's a well respected elder within the community so Shannon Donato asked if I could talk about my story up in the function rooms," said Carroll.
"So I went and dragged mum along with me. She wasn't too keen on coming because she was starting to feel a bit sick at the time but I convinced her.
"It was her first game she had seen live since 1984, here at Redfern Oval. So for me it was a big thrill to get her to a game 34 years later. It was just her second time at ANZ, I took her to the Cathy Freeman race during the Olympic Games which was an amazing experience for us and the country.
"After the game, Shannon invited mum down to the dressing room to meet the boys and she would never forget it. She raved about it for days on end. All of the boys were fantastic with their time with her." Carroll pauses briefly before regathering his thoughts.
"There's a big hole left from mum's passing but she made a fantastic contribution to the people in the area and particularly the kids and students in education."
Carroll wears his heart on sleeve in the same way he wears his favourite Souths jersey or his Woolloomooloo hoodie. A statement of identity, it's who he is and where he's from. It's that passion and that sense of belonging which lead him to screaming his heart out, wrapped up in red and green at Sydney's domestic terminal on the night of October 5th, 2014 sometime around 9.30pm AEST.
"I was devastated I couldn't make it. I was on stage up in Brisbane doing a play. I wanted to come back and at least celebrate the win. So I booked a flight, got back to the airport and watched the first half at the gate." He said.
"I then flew back to Sydney and found out we won. I ran through the terminal with my jersey on and hat and my scarf just screaming yes! 43 years it's been a long time waiting." Grins Carroll.
"I went and met up with the boys at Souths Juniors and celebrated with them there. When I got home I watched a replay of the game and just broke down in tears. It was a proud moment."
Luke Carroll. A proud Indigenous Australian, an actor, a presenter, a father and a 'staunch' Rabbitohs fan.
This is his South Sydney story.