Looking back: Micheal Luck
There are few obvious similarities when you think of Townsville and Auckland together – in landscape and weather, they're extremes.
But there's one very big thing they have in common – rugby league. The sport that binds them across the Tasman Sea.
Over both clubs’ 20 years in existence, 18 players have put on both the Warriors and Cowboys jerseys.
One of those is Micheal Luck.
From 2001-2005, 'Lucky' played 76 games for North Queensland.
“I was lucky to play here and with Paul Bowman who taught me you have to front up every day," the 32-year-old said.
"It’s not good enough to be good two days a week, you have to be good seven days a week. That’s the biggest lesson I learned.
“Talent-wise I got to play with Matt Bowen, Johnathan Thurston, Paul Rauhihi was a good influence, Luke O’Donnell, those types of guys.”
Then in 2006 the Warriors offered him a lifeline that turned into a life education.
“I owe a lot to where I am today to the club. I started and finished university there, my son was born in New Zealand," he said.
"I owe most of what I did in the last seven years of my career to a coach who's not there anymore (Ivan Cleary), he found a role for me and moulded that role with my skills and ability and gave me enough confidence in myself to do the job as well as I could.”
During his time across the ditch, the second-rower/lock ran around with some of the country’s rock stars of league, like Stacey Jones and Ruben Wiki.
After an initial three-year offer, Luck finished with 150 games for the New Zealand club.
But he would return to the tropical north intent on laying the building blocks for the Cowboys future as the elite pathways manager, working to build local junior talent into the next generation of Cowboys.
“I took the job back here because this is a club I have a huge amount of passion for. Mum and Dad have been season members for 15 years.”
“I want us to be successful here, to hold a trophy up and to give everyone who supports the club something to be really proud of.”
“I’m playing my part at the junior level and hopefully what we’re doing there translates to further success down the line.”
As for Saturday evening when his two professional worlds collide at 1300SMILES Stadium, his heart lies with the club that offered him his first chance at playing the greatest game of them, all 14 years ago.