Comets' United Nations line-up gets a French connection
A FRENCHMAN, two Tongans, some Kiwis, an Argentinean, one Pom and a bunch of Aussies walk into a bar ... or, so the story begins.
It's likely the bar is Coffs Leagues Club and the visitors are a group of Comets footballers.
Group 2's premier team is becoming a 'league of nations' with Julien Rodriguez the latest international signing from France.
Julien and sports journalist partner Analia (who contributed this story) arrived in Coffs Harbour from Toulouse just two weeks ago and have already fallen in love with the Aussie experience.
"This city is wonderful and the people are awesome," he said.
"It's amazing to see the sunrise every day at the Pacific and that's one of the things helping me start my preparations early in the morning.'
After saying goodbye to home club RCAM XIII and after playing a semi final of the French championship of France with his team DN2, Julian found himself rushed into the reserve grade side to play Sawtell.
"From the time I first started talking with coach Colin Speed about coming here, he organised everything very quickly," Julien said.
"I couldn't come before finishing with my ex-club but Col and his family are very important for me and my girlfriend.
"They were the first people we met and their hospitality was absolutely amazing.
"We also thank president Steve Gooley and Stephen Trewin as well for all the help and the great company during the first days in Coffs.
"Steve was looking for a player like me and I was looking for a serious club like this.
"Maybe it was destiny and now I know we are in the right place."
By profession a wine agent or sommelier, Julien generally is selected as a back row forward but can easily switch into the centres.
He isn't the first of his countrymen to play in Group 2 with gendarme Remi Bueno turning out with Macksville in 2010.
Probably the best import in modern times was Regis 'The Flying Frenchman' Pastre who played two seasons with Woolgoolga in the 1990s before heading home to play one Test for France.
This potential member of Les Chanticleers also has career and life goals.
"I want to show what I can do and who am I," Julien added.
"At the same time I want to improve myself every day and learn from these people, from the club, the other players and the Australian footy culture.
"To come to Australia was my dream and now I am here, my goal is to be part of this family for long time."
HAPPY: Comets president Steve Gooley enjoys breakfast at Coffs Harbour Surf Club with new recruit Julien Rodriguez.