Cherbourg nourishes Cobbo for PM's XIII

·3-min read

Brisbane young gun Selwyn Cobbo has credited a trip back to his home town of Cherbourg for rejuvenating his body and mind ahead of representing the Australian Prime Minister's XIII rugby league team on Sunday.

Cherbourg, an Aboriginal community north west of Brisbane, has produced a plethora of Indigenous boxing, rugby league and cricket stars.

That includes Cobbo's great-great grandfather, the late Queensland fast bowler Eddie Gilbert, who dismissed Don Bradman for a duck in a spell the great batsman said was the fastest he'd ever faced.

South Sydney fullback and Indigenous icon Latrell Mitchell often drives back to his home town of Taree to connect with family and renourish his soul.

It is the same for Cobbo with Cherbourg.

"I have just come back from Cherbourg," Cobbo said ahead of the clash with Papua New Guinea at Suncorp Stadium.

"I have been there for a week but it's probably not enough. I played a lot of football this year.

"I think I need a break, but I love footy and I will do what I have to do.

"I try not to forget where I come from. Going back to Cherbourg to see my family and friends is good for me in my mental space."

Twelve months ago Cobbo was playing for Wynnum-Manly in the Queensland Cup grand final.

Since then the 20-year-old has signed a contract extension with the Broncos and had a breakout season which led to him representing Queensland in the State of Origin series.

That all took its toll and is why Cobbo asked Brisbane coach Kevin Walters to rest him for the round 24 clash with Parramatta.

"It's been pretty challenging for me," Cobbo said.

"I have never had a year like this before and it will only get harder. I am still coping with it and dealing with it.

"I felt some fatigue at the end of the year so I told Kevvie I needed a rest to finish the year off strongly.

"I wouldn't have imagined I would be here... but I'm grateful to be in the (PM's) team and I can't wait for this week. It's another one on the bucket list ticked off.

"If I get named in the (World Cup) squad, I'd be happy to experience a tour like that."

Cobbo has been named at centre for the PM's XIII in the No.3 jersey, the same worn by former Australian centre Steve 'The Pearl' Renouf.

Renouf hails from Murgon, a town next door to Cherbourg, and was the hero of Cobbo's father Shamus.

"I wasn't around at the time when Steve was playing but back where I came from, you look at Steve and it makes me think anyone can do it," Cobbo said.

"I am walking in the same trail as Steve and it feels pretty good.

"Pearl has been very helpful. I have been doing some stuff with him through (Indigenous health program) Deadly Choices and he has been very helpful for me in my journey."