Greece captain Jordan Meads will be holding back the tears when he sings the national anthem at their first-ever Rugby League World Cup match.
The 30-year-old was born in New Zealand to a Kiwi father and a Greek mother. Growing up, he lived with his mum and his grandparents, who fled the war in Greece many years ago and migrated to New Zealand for a better life for their family.
“My mum is so proud,” Meads told Love Rugby League. “She doesn’t know anything about rugby league but she knows a lot about Greece. She’s really excited and I’m sure there’ll be a helluva lot watching our opening game.
“I lived with my grandparents and my mum until I was five. My grandparents fled the war in Greece to allow us to live the life we live in New Zealand and Australia.
“I’m indebted to what they’ve done and I’m really excited to repay in a small form in pulling the blue and white jersey on and doing our nation proud.”
Jordan Meads: We want to put Greece on the rugby league map
The experienced half-back, who spent two seasons in England with Newcastle Thunder in 2014-15, hopes the upcoming World Cup can catapult rugby league in Greece to new heights.
“Six months ago rugby league was illegal in our own country,” Meads told Love Rugby League.
“I think the Rugby League World Cup has come across at a perfect time. Although we want to do ourselves proud, we’ve got an amazing opportunity to springboard rugby league in our own country. We’ve got no doubt that this event is going to allow us to do that.”
Greece are in a group alongside Samoa, France and hosts England. Steve Georgallis’ side get their World Cup campaign underway against France in Doncaster on Monday, October 17.
“If you ask any captain here, they will tell you they want to play against the best teams in the world and we’re not any different,” Meads added.
“We are really excited that we’ve got two of the top four fancied teams in the whole competition in our group. We wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s no expectations from us but that’s just the way we like it.”