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Broncos rake eager to get teammates involved in harness racing

By Duane Ranger

When tough Brisbane Broncos hooker, Jake Turpin, needs to draw on some inspiration and success, he looks no further than top Queensland horsewoman, his sister, Chantal McMullen.

“Chantal works so hard training her team of horses and she’s the best Mum ever to my beautiful neices, Olivia and Rylee. I can see why she is successful, because she is the hardest worker I know,” Jake says

“She is also married to one of the best drivers going around (Peter McMullen). Chantal is my inspiration to succeed. My motto has always been ‘give it a crack!’ Don’t do anything half-hearted – and they certainly don’t do that."

The 22-year-old spoke to Racing Queensland not long after returning from a gritty 8-2 away win against the NZ Warriors in Auckland on Saturday (May 25).

Since making the Queensland Under 15 team while attending St Edmunds College Ipswich in 2011, the humble ‘country boy’ from rural Queensland has escalated into one of the toughest and most fearless hookers in the NRL.“

I’ve never been big, or even fast for that matter, but Dad (Tony) always told me ‘the bigger they are the harder they fell’. If you go in half-hearted that’s when you get injured,” Jake said.

“Growing up Dad always did the horses with Chantal and Mum Karen would take me to all my footy games. Mum and Dad have always taught us that if we are going to do anything then give it 101 per cent.

“I was always the little kid who really tore into his tackling. I gave it my all, no matter how big or small they were. That still very much applies.”

Turpin said harness racing was without a doubt his second favourite sport.

“When I’m not playing league I always like to flick the Tv on and watch my family race. I’ve grown up around the horses and I’m slowly trying to convince my team-mates to get involved,” he said.

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“Some of them now look for the Turpin and McMullen name when the trots are on. I’d actually like a few of us to get a ‘Broncos horse’, perhaps a Kiwi import.

“I Know ‘Birdy’ (Jack Bird) could be keen and I’ll try and get some of the others along to the track when and if I can. I know quite a few of them seem interested anyway.”

Schedule and time allowing Turpin said he would more than likely be attending Queensland’s Winter Carnival at Albion Park in July.

“I’d like to be there, especially if my horses are running at the time – and I think they will be. I think Watch Pulp Fiction is being targeted for the Carnival and Mattgregor is just on the way back, perhaps trialling this week,” he said.

Turpin said he was never one to rush and muck the boxes or do feed-ups when he was young.

“I’ve been around them all of my life. I still love them, but I was never too excited about doing it for a full-time job. I’m not sure what would have happened if I never got that Melbourne Storm (five-year) contract when I was 15,” he said.

“Footy has always been my number one sport. Harness two. Our parents gave Chantal and I a great country life and the best possible platform to do what we wanted in life.

“Chantal and I have always tried to do our best by our family and make them proud. We will never forget the hard yards they put in when we were growing up.”

Turpin said he would like to pass similar guidance through sport to young league players, especially promising young hookers.

“I remember when I was young and a Broncos fan, so now I’d do anything for the kids. They are the future of our game. If I can sign an autograph and makes someone’s day, then it puts a smile on my face too,” Turpin said.

*Racing Queensland wishes to thank the Brisbane Broncos for their assistance with this article.

Jake Turpin’s player bio can be found here: https://www.broncos.com.au/teams/telstra-premiership/brisbane-broncos/jake-turpin/