By Michael Nunn (QRL correspondent)
Jack Svendsen’s name might sound like a backpacker from a Nordic country but in reality, he is as North Queensland as they come. But he does love packing up and moving for adventure and opportunity.
The Cairns Southern Suburbs junior will play his 150th Hostplus Cup game this week when the Brisbane Tigers and Ipswich clash at North Ipswich Reserve.
He will be the 73rd player to play 150 Hostplus Cup games.
Svendsen played 49 games for the North Queensland Cowboys in the Toyota Cup but then it was time to play for his local North Queensland side the Pride.
“Jason Demetriou rang me and said they had a spot at the Pride for me,” Svendsen said.
“I was finished at the Cowboys and playing for my local side in Cup appealed to me.
This North Queenslander didn’t have to go too far for game one in 2014 for the Northern Pride at home against the Redcliffe Dolphins at Barlow Park.
On debut Svendsen scored a try and Pride had a win 20-12.
“I was 18th man the first few weeks and then round three made my debut against Redcliffe,” Svendsen remembered.
“David Hala ran straight over my first tackle in Cup.”
The highlight came at the end of 2014 when Svendsen played in the first State Championship against Penrith.
The Pride beat the Panthers 32-28 and Svendsen made a great contribution with 103 metres and 12 tackles overcoming the disappointment of the week before.
“I missed the Grand Final, JD went with Kyle Feldt and so I was 18th man,” Svendsen said.
“I got over that pretty quickly as I played 18 games that year but it was what’s best for the team and we got the result.
“I played the next week at Stadium Australia in front of 80,000 and won the first State Title.”
At the Pride to give Svendsen his Hostplus Cup debut was current South Sydney coach Jason Demetriou who coached the Pride for 19 of the 56 games that Svendsen was at the Pride.
“Jack was born and bred in Cairns,” Demetriou said.
“He came from the Cowboys 20’s and brought some physicality to our team.
“He contributed significantly to our success in 2014.
“A hard work edge or middle who never let his mates down.”
It was time to pack that bag again and head off to Brisbane and a home at the Tigers.
“Brian Torpy is from Cairns so he had a word to me and sold the Tigers to me.” Svendsen said.
“I was a bit nervous, the Pride and Tigers had been involved in a bit of a rivalry but the Tigers has been great for me.
“When I got here they had that core of older blokes like Butterfield and McInally who were great for me then they finished and I am that older player now.
“I can’t imagine playing anywhere else now, I am a Tiger and love it here, this is home.”
A Queensland jumper for Residents wasn’t too far away and in 2016 Svendsen was picked to represent his state.
“That was a goal I had to get picked for Queensland I got to do it twice, the second time in 2017 I broke my jaw that afternoon against the Capras and then couldn’t play.” Svendsen said.
Svendsen has played 93 games for the Tigers and Jarrod McInally is happy for his mate and knows what he brings to the Tigers Den.
McInally played 85 games for the Tigers and 20 with Svendsen in 2017.
“Jack is one of those guys that comes to a club and improves it straight away,” McInally said.
“He may just be working on his arms and abs in the gym but he does all the hard work and wins you over straight away.
“He may have broken our Tiger hearts in 2014 but we got on straight away at the Tigers.
“150 games are a huge achievement.”
Teammate and friend Lachlan Lansky who is also at the Tigers in 2022, joined in on the commemorations.
“It’s a massive milestone getting to 150 Cup games” Lansky said.
“Especially for a bloke that complains as much as Sven.
“He has been a massive part of the what the Tigers are doing and the boys will be keen to get him a win on Sunday”, he added.
When Jack Svendsen heads to Ipswich on Sunday it will be a short trip there and back but somewhere along Ipswich Road he might reflect on just how far he’s come from Southern Suburbs in Cairns and 150 Hostplus Cup games and be glad he packed that bag.
Northern Pride – 56 Games (2014 to 2016)
Brisbane Tigers – 93 Games (2017 to 2022)