Facing the sky-blue curse
By STEVE SPINKS
WOLLONGBAR rugby player Steve Mison is always wary when he dons the sky blue jumper of the NSW Combined High Schools First XV.
After all, it's not been a lucky jersey for the 18-year-old.
Most rugby players would salivate at the thought of representing CHS, as it is seen as stepping stone to the Australian Schoolboy side and possible further representative honours at a senior level.
But Mison's experience is different.
The 1.92cm and 95kg second-rower was selected for CHS last season in Year 11, a sure sign that selectors have high hopes of further representation.
But just before the NSW Schoolboys carnival, Mison came down with a dose of food poisoning and could not take his spot in the side.
"Oh well," he thought, "Maybe next year."
And things looked good after Mison was selected again after starring for North Coast Schools at the trials.
This time the Wollongbar Under-19 player injured his ankle two weeks out from the NSW Schoolboys carnival.
Although he played, Mison was still hampered by the injury and failed to progress to further representative honours.
Asked if the NSW CHS jersey was jinxed, Mison replied: "Definitely. I just can't get past it. Still, I guess it's still good to make the firsts."
However, perhaps the unlucky curse is set to lifted.
Every eight years CHS embark on an overseas tour.
Mison just happens to be in the year that CHS will tour the United Kingdom. They leave later this month.
"I'll have to do my HSC (Higher School Certificate) when I get back," Mison said.
"Mum was a bit worried, but she let me go."
After getting the green light from his parents, Mison along with the Wollongbar Rugby Club have embarked on a massive fundraising effort.
The Alstonville High School student was given 2500 tickets by CHS organisers to raise money for his trip. He's slowly working his way through the book.
Representative football is nothing new to the Mison family.
Steve's grandfather, Bill Conlan, who represented Australia at league, while his cousin is Ross Conlan, former Canterbury Bulldogs and Balmain star.
Mison reckons he can goalkick ... almost as good as the former around-the-corner kicker.
Next season the big second-rower hopes to play club rugby in Sydney with either Randwick, Manly or Warringah.
Mison wants to become a No8.
Perhaps he should steer clear of Manly.
After all, they have a blue jersey ... similar to the NSW CHS team.
n IF anyone would like to help out Mison and his family in fundraising for the trip to the UK, contact Carol Mison on 6628 3722.