Sporting Mellars family target Olympic and Trinity success

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VINCE Mellars has to regularly persuade his Wakefield Trinity team-mates that when he doesn’t join them for a post-training coffee at it is not because he is being in anyway unsociable.

It is simply the price he has to pay for being one half of a professional sporting couple, thousands of miles away from home, and a father to boot; there are not enough hours in the day.

Mellars is settling at the West Yorkshire club following his move from demised Welsh franchise Crusaders, and wife Charmian Purcell is reviving her basketball career with Sheffield Hatters and, hopefully, New Zealand at the forthcoming London Olympics.

As Mellars told the Yorkshire Post, there is a lot to juggle.

“It is very competitive in our household,” he says.

“But also, living away from our home back in New Zealand, makes it all very challenging for babysitters.

“Time is valuable to us. That’s why if I don’t spend time with these guys here they think I’m just brushing them off.

“It’s just that when I get home I’ve only got about an hour with Charmian then she takes off for her second training session.

“She shoots out about six in the morning, does about an hour and half on her own, then comes home and I go to training.

“Then she goes to team training in the afternoon in Sheffield too so it takes away a lot of family time but hopefully it’ll be worth it.”

While the strapping Kiwi centre is preparing for the visit of London Broncos tomorrow, the capital city is also very much on the lips of his wife as Purcell is currently battling to secure her place at the biggest sporting event in the world.

“She took off to New Zealand last week in a team camp and then on to China to play before an Olympics qualifying tournament in Turkey,” said Mellars, who sacrificed his own career in the NRL to move back to Christchurch and allow her the chance to play at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“They’re in a pretty difficult pool but you’ve got to stay positive.

“It’s been a pretty tough year in trying to support her, do my thing at Wakey, as well as two little ‘uns.

“But she was lucky enough to find a team in Sheffield Hatters and they went all the way to win the UK Championship final.

“Charmian was injured for that, unfortunately, and so has had a lot of preparation to get back to fitness ready for this now but hopefully she does well.”

As the anticipation mounts ahead of the Olympics, with the opening ceremony set for Friday, July 27, he added: “It’ll be awesome in London if they do make it.

“She’ll be playing with her sister too which makes it even better.”

Mellars, 28, left Sydney City Roosters to move back to New Zealand, joining rugby union club Crusaders when his wife signed up with Christchurch Sirens.

But she repaid the favour to allow him to join the Welsh rugby league version in 2010 and, although that went awry with its subsequent collapse, he did enough to impress and earn a three-year deal at Wakefield.

Mellars scored an 80m interception try in their rousing 32-26 win over arch-rivals Castleford Tigers at Magic Weekend a week ago.

He hopes that hard-earned victory could act as the catalyst for a surge in Trinity form for the second half of a stuttering campaign so far.

It was only a fourth triumph of the year and the Wildcats remain seven points off the top-eight pace.

Richard Agar’s side also have plenty of retribution in mind following a demoralising 36-0 loss at London Broncos at the end of March.

Mellars recalled: “We’d been travelling well before that game and then just dropped off.

“We need to stand tall this week and get all the little things covered.

“It was a big win against Cas and not just because it was our rivals but because of the way we’d been playing beforehand.

“We showed what we can do. We pulled through in the end of a tight game and it was a great feeling to go through those tough times and see everyone’s reaction afterwards.”

Given London have won just twice in the league so far, again swept aside 42-18 by Catalan on Sunday, Wakefield are hopeful of successive victories for the first time this season.

The 11th-placed club are bolstered by the return of Oliver Wilkes at prop who has not played since injuring his thumb over Easter.

Mellars, who also featured with New Zealand Warriors and Cronulla in the NRL, will look to play his part. And then await other crucial results in Turkey.