Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Xavier Enjoys Life in His Bar's Front Row; RHINOS First Grade Coach Xavier Sullivan Is an Imposing Figure on and off the Football Field. However His Size Belies His Gentle Nature. A Family Man and Talented League Player Sullivan Took Time out to Have a Chat about League, Union and Family

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Xavier Enjoys Life in His Bar's Front Row; RHINOS First Grade Coach Xavier Sullivan Is an Imposing Figure on and off the Football Field. However His Size Belies His Gentle Nature. A Family Man and Talented League Player Sullivan Took Time out to Have a Chat about League, Union and Family

Article excerpt

Byline: Gary Nichols gary.nichols@dailyexaminer.com.au

So Xavier, before we get down to the nitty-gritty, what is the 'Great Northern debate'

A few weeks ago I was playing pool against a couple of guys, 'Killer' and 'Wunna'. My partner was Phil Green and we sunk the black off the break and my interpretation of the rule is if a person sinks the black off the break they win the game. No one seems to believe me.

I have never come across this before; sinking the black off the break is a feat in itself. I have contacted the Australian Eight-ball Federation on the ruling and am waiting for their reply - I'll keep you posted.

I can't wait; I have a few schooners riding on the ruling.

So league or union?

I played a bit of both but started off playing junior league out at Brewarrina. I moved to Grafton when I was about 10 and played a mixture all through school but after I got a bit better at union I went to Sydney then switched back to league when I returned.

How high a level did you reach in your rugby career?

I played Australian under-16s and also the Australian All-States under-19s playing second-row.

Why make the switch after back to league?

I guess I always liked league. I had a league background out at Brewarrina and the opportunity came up to move back to the Clarence from Sydney...I've played league ever since.

With your frame playing in the backs was not an option but I know deep down you're a frustrated playmaker.

When I was younger I definitely wanted to play in the backs but not so much now, I've got older and the young guys have got quicker. I wanted to play to my full potential in the centres but they wouldn't let me.

You rarely see a front-rower offload the ball, something you have the ability to do. Have you changed your own game in recent years?

I still like to offload the ball but today's game is all about the pace of the game, the skill level is slowly starting to go out of the game. …

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