Former Australian boxing world champion and St. George five-eighth and centre Anthony Mundine has encouraged Group 11 Rugby League clubs to dig in and stay ready for the return of the sport during a stop in Dubbo.
The former title holder, who won world championships in the middleweight, super-middleweight and super-welterweight divisions after a lengthy career as a five-eighth and centre for the St. George Dragons, said local clubs would need to keep working hard, even during the COVID-19 lockdown.
"Stay patient, keep on your grind, never stop grinding and get out there," Mundine said.
"Kick the football, do whatever you can when you can to get better, I know a lot of people can't train right now because of this social distancing stuff and that makes it hard, but if this is what you really want, you have to go for it."
Always a showman on and off field, Mundine sympathised with players in the NRL and elsewhere who would likely have to play in front of empty seats for the foreseeable future.
"It's hard, as a player and an athlete, the atmosphere is just so dull, it would be hard to get up playing in front of no crowd, but it's something that has to be done," Mundine said.
Mundine, who ended his Rugby League career in 2000 before making the switch to boxing, was one of the voices instrumental in seeing Greg Inglis make the move to the South Sydney Rabbitohs a decade later.
Asked of the former State of Origin powerhouse's reported plans to make a return to the field for English Super League club the Warrington Wolves, Mundine was supportive.
"I've got nothing but love and respect for brother G.I., if he feels he's capable of doing it, then by all means he can do it and I believe he can do it, I mean, he's G.I." Mundine said.
While Mundine was visiting Dubbo to announce a new artwork project to be installed at the Victoria Street intersection, he was optimistic about making a return to Dubbo, saying he'd like to return to watch another edition of the Koori Knockout, if it were held here again.