Former Richmond Central star turned University of Houston punter Dane Roy catches up with Snakes reporter-at-large Shayne Hope.
D-Roy, thanks for taking the time out to chat with your old mates back at the Snake Pit. This whole #HTownTakeover business – talk us through it…
Q: We have all twiddled the thumbs playing Madden and it doesn’t seem that hard… What has been the toughest part about learning the intricacies of American football?
A: I still haven’t learnt all the rules! There are more rules in this game than Fraser has had dummy spits at full-forward in the twos! I never played Madden before I got over here, so that game actually helped me learn the positions and basic plays. The toughest part is guessing if the flag on the play is for us or against us, as I never know what just happened.
Q: How much media attention are you getting and how are you dealing with it?
A: Just a few post-practice interviews with some local newspapers is all I’m getting. Maybe a once-a-year write-up by ESPN on the intricacies of selling ice cream, too. Everything is good for the brand.
Q: What are you studying and how is the academic side of things going?
A: I am studying advertising, which is a major in the communications area. Currently I am a sophomore and I am still completing the core curriculum, which ranges from Texas history and politics to english and maths. It brings back memories of high school, but at least this time I understand why I am doing this.
Q: Which of the stadiums you’ve played at has the best crowd and atmosphere?
A: Nothing beats the first game I ever played in – and Budgy happened to be there, too. We played in NRG Stadium, home of the Texans, and we played the #6 ranked team at the time, Oklahoma. We knocked them off and the atmosphere was amazing. Another great atmosphere was when we played the #3 ranked Louisville at home on a Thursday night on national TV and took them down! I managed to convert a fake punt on 4th down, and became the first Aussie to complete a pass at the stadium (maybe in UH football history too).
Q: Is your dream to make the NFL one day? What are your chances?
A: Yeah, it’d be a dream come true if I could pull the boots on for an NFL team one day. I’m not sure my chances are that good though. It’s pretty much all about timing and if they need anyone when you’re there. We have had some really good Aussies finish college and try their luck and come up short after they finish. Those guys like Hackett, Dunnachie, Keehn and Johnston are all way better than me and they were unlucky with how their careers stagnated.
Q: How does college footy compare to roosting a 73m torp at the ‘G in front of 100,000 fans on grand final day?
A: I reckon kicking the Sherrin was a bit easier, as you can miskick it and still get a good distance. If you miss one here, it could be returned for a touchdown. But when it comes to crowd atmosphere, the college football crowds are something else.
Q: What’s the best part about living in Texas?
A: Everything is bigger in Texas! The weather is warm all year round – it only went below 0 for about 3 weeks last year – the food is pretty good and the people are really friendly.
Q: You’re 28 years old – does that make you the old man of the team?
A: Yeah, it sure does. I am even older than some of the coaches, which is pretty funny. I make sure the other specialists (kickers and snappers etc) are where they need to be so we don’t get punishments etc. But I always have time for jokes. Some guys think I am bi-polar because I’m serious one minute but making jokes the next. I just say that’s an Aussie thing. We just know when to be serious and when to have fun.
Righto, now for the quirky stuff…
Q: What’s the craziest college experience you’ve had?
A: That would be every game. We get a legit police escort from our university to the hotel we stay at before each game, then from the hotel to the game. It surprised me the first time I saw it and it hit me how big this thing really is!
Q: What is the weirdest question someone has asked you about Australia?
A: There have been a few. We were talking about the exchange rate one day when I said ‘the Australian dollar’, then one guy goes, ‘so what is your national currency, is it like Euro or something?’ I just looked at him, shaking my head, then told him we have “dollarydoos”. That’s one thing that annoys me – the generation gap. 99.9% of my Simpsons references fall on deaf ears because they (my teammates) didn’t grow up watching the Simpsons at 6pm on Channel 10 each night. It’s probably one of the hardest things I go through here.
Q: Did you call ESPN to tell them you never played for the “Richmond Tigers”, or did you let it ride?
A: Gotta let that one ride. If ESPN broadcast on national TV that you’ve done something better than you actually did, it’s a win for good karma.
Q: How often have you had to explain the difference between Aussie Rules and rugby?
A: Mate, I still do it to this day. Someone put a bloody rugby ball in my locker and asked how I throw it. It’s usually at least once a week, whether it’s from a player or a student in a class. I now reply with, ‘nah mate, Australian football is kinda like ultimate frisbee with tackling, and we use a ball and goal posts’.
Q: How many autographs have you signed for Cougars fans? Signed any body parts?
A: Just a few hats and balls and posters. No body parts… yet.
Q: How often have you heard the term “ice-cream salesman” over the past two years?
A: Yeah, quite a lot. I’ve been trying to move away from that but it keeps coming back. You never know, Peters might want my advertising skills when I return in a few years.
Q: Just one more – when are you making your Snakes comeback down at KB Reserve?
A: After I finish playing over here, I might pop back for a few goals from the forward pocket. Either that or leading the peanut gallery!