Cameron Cullen in action against the Ipswich Jets last year.
Cameron Cullen in action against the Ipswich Jets last year. Tony Martin

Kim more than just a coach

TODAY'S potential opponent Cameron Cullen presents not only a headache for Capras' coach Kim Williams but a reunion of two great mates.

Cullen played under Williams last year at the Mackay Cutters and is named for the Gold Coast Titans but is likely to drop back to the Burleigh Bears.

The 22-year-old went through hell and back when tragically he lost his brother Justin to a freak surfing accident last year, the pain spurring him on to make his NRL debut last weekend, scoring a try in the process.

Cullen said Williams was one of the first on the scene when he found out about the tragedy.

Capras coach Kim Williams. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Capras coach Kim Williams. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka

"It just shows what type of a bloke he is. He genuinely cares more about his players than results.

"I only spent a year under him but I grew as a player and person so much under him.

"All the circumstances changed, but he is someone who I would follow anywhere, he is a great coach and obviously I have him to thank for making my debut."

Life is simpler for Cullen now. Back at home on the Gold Coast surrounded by family, he can rest assured knowing his old coach is thinking about him.

"I speak to him all the time about footy and life, he checks up on me regularly," the halfback said.

"Not only footy wise but as a mentor he helped me out off the field so much.

"Just moving home, the lifestyle and being back with the family, it has really helped me on and off the field being happy."

Williams knows the quality of the player he could be facing, upstaged only by the quality of the young man.

"I was stoked for him, he is a real quality young man and I had a fair bit to do with him off the field with his battles," Williams said.

"That's what a coach's job is in part, support your players through tough times and he did that.

"Those things are such a shock, not an illness that you see coming or can prepare for.

"It shows Cameron's character to be able to bounce back like that, he has great support with his partner and family.

"I didn't try and bring him to Capras, only because I knew he needed to be back with family, we have always kept in touch though, he 100% needed to be with his family.

"I watched the game last week and it was just so good to see him achieve his goal, so happy for him and I really hope he gets another run this week."

The Cronulla Sharks outdid Cullen's Titans 25-20 but he said he "would not forget it in a hurry".

"Obviously disappointed we lost, but I am keen as to get another run in first-grade," he said.

"It took a while to sink in but as soon as it was over and I got a chance to reflect on it.

"I really enjoyed it, it was exciting."


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