Beau Robinson is one of the real characters of Australian sports, nearly a throw back to the 80’s & 90’s when as a sports lover it seemed that sports people were more relatable to the fans. He's just an all round top bloke, a country boy with a county accent he loves a yarn and a beer which is no surprise to see his own new podcast named “a yarn with Beau Robbo”.
He was a talented youngster with humble beginnings in Dubbo. First a soccer player than found his love & early success in Rugby at boarding school. Interestingly his aggressive style also suited league with the Canterbury Bulldogs luring him down for a crack at Rugby League. While he didn’t play first grade he would learn some valuable life and footy lessons which were instilled in the Bulldogs culture and hold him in good stead for the challenges ahead.
He would work his way up through the ranks at Waratahs and learn from a World Class back row before remaining unsigned following a successful campaign. This would teach him much about life as he went from professional footballer to garbage collector and living in the shoes of the average Joe. Life would take him to Italy and playing in a League much below his ability and also send his life into a whirl wind with the tragic passing of his brother Dan.
Using his time to gain perspective and inspiration, Beau set himself the goal to make it back to the big time in Australia and while opportunities were limited amongst the Super Rugby teams he would network his way to a training opportunity with the Reds.
From there he worked himself into the team and the reward would follow which included a Super Rugby Premiership and the ultimate a Wallabies test jersey.
Beau has had an amazing journey already, a young one that will only continue to grow. It’s a tale of a talented young man who had to work his ass off to get to the top and would take adversity head on and not keep him down.
This is the story of Beau Robinson, Listen to the entire episode below or continue for my key takeaways and stories from our powerful chat.
THE ORIGINS OF HIS SPORTING LIFE
“I was actually a soccer man up until I was about 14 then I had a bad injury. I actually kick the ground of all things with no shoes on. It was a really bad injury and I put on a little bit of weight, then lost a bit of speed and I was sort of at that age where the testosterone levels are really starting to kick in and I need something a bit more physical and aggressive. It probably wasn't until my last year of school that I actually thought well I could become a professional rugby player. Until then I thought about going into the army and did a fair bit of research of how that would look. I had a really good year in year 12 and was fortunate enough to make the Australia Schoolboys and then there was a bit of interest there and the way I played was appealing to the league clubs and the Bulldogs came knocking”
Beau is the third from left at the top
THE MOVE DOWN TO SYDNEY
“Most of my friends who came down either moved to Coogee or Manly and those places a little more appealing than Belmore. Blokes follow other blokes and they have that support networks there, while living in Belmore I didn’t have that. That was only one week after I finished school and all my mates were having their 18th and end of School parties and having piss up’s every weekend and I’m running sand dunes Saturday morning getting flogged. I’m like what am I doing this is? It was ridiculously tough, so that was a real eye opener. I don’t think any where I’ve played professionally was any where as tough as it was at the Bulldogs. Billy Johnstone was the trainer there and then they had a couple of blokes trying to emulate that. I don’t think there was much science behind it but it was old school, we will break you mentally and if you can’t handle it we will find someone who can”
“After my first three years at the Waratahs I found myself in a position where I was no longer a professional Rugby player, I was then working as a Garbo then up in Queensland as a bar man. It was pretty good for me; even though I was pretty grounded then from being in a working class family. That held me in good stead, my last game for the Waratahs was a Super Rugby Final then a year later I was not even a professional rugby player which made me realise that this can happen at any time”
“Ewen’s a bit of an individual or a bit of a loner. Not an individual like his going to do it all himself but he likes his alone time. It was a very respectable relationship. What I really liked about him was he seemed pretty genuine, honest and up front and their some traits that are pretty hard to come by in people in general especially in professional sports where blokes have alterative motives. Those are things I appreciated about him and most people you would speak to would say I’m pretty upfront and honest too and I think that’s what he liked about me”
SECOND CHANCES AT THE REDS
“The Melbourne Rebels had come in that year and I was hoping something would eventuate there with Rod Macqueen being an ex Rats man but it didn’t, so I went to the simple it’s not what you know but who you know. So I reached out to Ewen sending an email asking if there was an opportunity to simply just train with the Reds. The Waratahs let me go, the Brumbies had Smith, the Force had Pocock, where was I going to get an opportunity and I realised there might be a fit there for me and fortunately there was”
NEW LIFE PERSPECTIVE
“With my brother passing, when something like that happens it changes your total perspective on life. You really start to question what life’s about and what you want to achieve in life and do with yourself. I was absolutely hating working as a Garbo and said to myself I want to be a professional Rugby player in Australia because I want to prove to people that I’m up to it and I had nothing to lose so I went for it”
THE TEST DEBUT
“They told me after the grand final at the pub and the team manager came up and tapped me on the shoulder. That was unbelievable because I’d just won the Super Rugby title and to be told that I was on top of the world. Monday we went down to Sydney, it was an unreal high and unreal experience because it all happened so quickly, it was a world wind experience”
ONE OF HIS PROUDEST MOMENT’S
“Uni was probably one of the proudest things I’ve achieved, it took me 10 years. I started university in my first year at the Waratahs. I was actually a Landscape Gardner my first year out of school when I arrived at the Bulldogs under 20’s and I broke my leg and the boss had to get rid of me. So then I went to Uni and did PE Teaching for a couple of years then realised that wasn’t for me so went into Business. The flexibility and opportunities it provided post Rugby is what attracted me to it. It took me 10 years, It was a hard slog, I went overseas and did it full time in Sydney while working as a Garbo, it was pretty tough going and it was a real sense of achievement once I actually had completed that and I’m quite proud it wasn’t 3 years living on campus getting on the drink with everyone, it was a hard slog”
LEARNING FROM HIS PODCAST
“A Couple of things I’ve taken out from the interviews was especially when blokes who look back on their career and wish they were more balanced during their career. So if you have a bad game or rough patch you’re not worrying about that, that’s not your sole purpose. The other one was they wish they done more off the field to eliminate the things they thought they might go into post Rugby. So for example they talked about working in a cafe every second Wednesday on their day off, so if they don’t like it they haven’t wasted 6-12 months at the end of the career and eliminated that and I’ve eliminated things I know I won’t be involved in post Rugby”
I really enjoyed this chat with Beau as he gave great perspective on how life and sport can change at a drop of a hat. His fighting spirit is admirable and many of his stories can be used as inspiration as we chase our own dreams.
Sometimes the path will be tough but it will be more worth it then if it was handed to us without earning it first. I’m looking forward to continuing to follow Beau on his journey and to see what he creates post footy. I’m a big fan of his new podcast which gives some excellent insights into the minds of some top class athletes and I encourage you to give it a listen. Find all of Beau’s contacts below.
LISTEN TO A YARN WITH BEAU ROBBO
Be the first to listen to future episodes as well as catch up on previous episodes of the show. One on one conversation’s with legends like Steve Waugh, Greg Chappell, Wayne Gardner, David Reynolds, Kieren Perkins, Mark Occhilupo, Michael Klim, Andrew Ettingshausen, Paul Harragon, David Campese, Bradley Clyde, Karmichael Hunt, Matt Toomua, Mark Hunt, & Robbie Maddison
You can find all of these episodes online or subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you listen to your podcast.
For show notes, athletes lists and more learning articles, please visit https://www.talkingwithtk.com
If you loved this check out these other stories