When the Dyldam Parramatta Eels travelled to the USA for their 2015 pre-season training camp in early November, Luke Kelly and the rest of the Eels squad did not expect to run into too many familiar faces.
The Blue and Gold had travelled over 12,500km to learn from the top sporting teams and some of the biggest organisations in the world, however, as the team bonded in Seattle by watching the Melbourne Cup, Kelly came face to face with a familiar face from his past.
“I was holidaying with my parents and we had been driving from Montana through to Las Vegas and then back up to Seattle. We went to a little town in Washington State and a Seattle lady recommended we come to this Aussie bar one of her friends owned,” Kelly’s friend Rhyse Keir recalls.
“That bar turned out to be the 'Kangaroo and Kiwi' and we heard the Eels were going to be here, so I called two of my American buddies down to watch the Melbourne Cup and see some of the boys.”
“I walked in and saw ‘Kells’, one of the boys I went to school with, and it just went from there!”
Kelly and Keir had attended the same school, St Gregorys College Campbelltown, and despite Kelly, originally hailing from Katherine in the Northern Territory, who boarded at the school after being picked up on a football scholarship, the two quickly reconnected.
“Hello buddy. How are ya mate? How ya going?” Keir blurted out when coming face to face with Kelly.
“Keir! How ya going?” Kelly replied.
“We had a chat, bought each other some beers and talked about what he was doing and what I was doing!”
Keir admits that the two have taken considerably different paths since their school years, with Keir, who worked in Australia as a fencing contractor, now working as a hunting guide in the USA.
“It’s pretty slim to meet him here considering we both took completely different paths since finishing school” Keir said.
“I would of last seen him when we left year 12 which was in 2007!”
“7 years ago and he still looks the same. He hasn’t changed.”