FILM and TV have provided significant twists in the life of Latin American Rugby League prop Sean Day – the Peruvian juggernaut who first learned of the Heat while watching The Footy Show last June.
Grandson of Peru’s former head of national security, 130kg Day will add his considerable size to this Saturday’s Magellan Cup battle against the Philippines at Bishop Park in Brisbane.
Quiet by nature, despite his imposing frame, Day is a fascinating tale once you can get him to open up.
His mother Marita Olarte emigrated from Peru to Australia some four decades ago, bringing with her a remarkable family history.
“Her father was special forces…used to look after the Peruvian president,” says 29-year-old Day.
“One of my uncles followed the same line of work and they actually made a movie about him.
“He was part of an intelligence organisation and they tracked one of Peru’s most infamous criminals.
“I’ve got a copy of the movie sitting on my shelf at home.”
Once settled in Australia Marita met Gary Day, prominent member of Rotary International.
The couple still return to Peru frequently and in recent years have established a project to assist the nation’s vision impaired community.
Growing up in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, Sean played both rugby union and rugby league from a young age, always as a front-rower.
His pedigree is rich, having made junior representative teams with the Sydney Roosters and North Sydney Bears, while being a regular member of the NSW junior Warratahs squad.
Day’s first grade debut for the famous Randwick rugby union club came at the age of just 18 and former teammates include Kurtley Beale, Laurie Weeks, David Dennis, Beau Champion and cousins Eddie and Mickey Paea, all of whom became professional sportsmen.
Sean himself has been successful away from the field, forming the booming S.H.I.E.L.D Security, which controls many of Sydney’s busiest night spots.
When he saw a preview of the Latin Heat playing Thailand Stars on Channel Nine last season, he hopped on board both as a player and major sponsor.
“It was a big surprise to learn there was a Latino team already out there. I never thought I’d see the day,” says Sean.
“Anytime I see my Latino mates I tell them about the team and encourage them to be involved.
“I’m really proud I’m able to help the team out in some way. It’s been a great experience.”
Day played a leading hand as Latin America defeated Portugal 40-6 in October, combining well up front with Chilean powerhouse Eduardo Wegener.
The match against the Philippines will be Day’s second appearance in the striking red, orange and black of the Heat – an occasion he has been eagerly looking forward to.
The Latin Heat would like to thank not only S.H.I.E.L.D security but also naming rights sponsors Guzman y Gomez Mexican Taquerias and partners Link International Student Service Centres, Normanby Hotel, Rumba Latina Entertainment, Chimi.com.au Gourmet Sauces and Brisbane City Council’s Lord Mayor’s Suburban Initiative Fund for making the event possible.
MAGELLAN TROPHY 2015 – Sat Jan 17, Bishop Park, Nundah
4pm – Youth Game – United Nations (Latin America/Africa) v Philippines.
5.10pm – Men’s Development – Latin America v Philippines
6.30pm – Bundaberg Indigenous Wellbeing XIII v QLD Maori
8pm – International – GYG Latin Heat v PAL Philippines Tamaraws