Sport

Rugby League: Canberra DJ does his grandfather proud representing Latin Heat

He gets his hands dirty during the day and spins turntables at night, but the true passion for West Belconnen prop Eddie Wegener is spreading the message of rugby league through the Latin America community.

Wegener will be on familiar territory when the 23-year-old runs out for the Latin Heat against the Thailand Stars at Raiders Belconnen on Saturday night.

Eddie Wegener will play for the Latin Heat rugby league team against Thailand on Saturday night.
Eddie Wegener will play for the Latin Heat rugby league team against Thailand on Saturday night. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

The Latin Heat are made up of players who represent the combined nations of South and Central America.

Wegener has Chilean blood flowing through his veins from his father's side of the family and jumped at the chance to make his international debut last year.

He works as a gardener during the day before changing tack when the sun goes down, getting behind the turntables as a DJ in the Canberra club scene, the highlight when he supported Peking Duk last year.

Having played with West Belconnen since the under-7s, Wegener joined the Latin Heat at the request of pastor Bruce Rossel following the death of Wegener's grandfather, Abuelo, in 2014.

"I thought I might have an opportunity to make my grandfather proud," Wegener said.

"He was very passionate and he used to love watching me play down at the club at West Belconnen.

"It was one of those things, I wanted to give something back to him and to the community and to help junior players coming through."

Wegener makes a five-hour round trip to Sydney for training sessions.

He was named the best and fairest for Latin American rugby league last year and helped the Heat to a 40-6 victory against Portugal.

"The Latin Heat is trying to promote as much as we can to those Latin American nations to try and get them interested in rugby league," Wegener said.

"I hope in the next couple of years we get Chile in the next World Cup in 2022.

"It would mean so much to me."

When he is not playing footy or getting his hands dirty in the garden, Wegener is spinning the decks at night.

A memorable trip to iconic Canberra nightspot Mooseheads on his 18th birthday led to Wegener wanting to get into the music scene.

"The DJ was doing all these really cool tricks on the decks and I was like, 'I want to be like him one day'," Wegener said.

"Funnily enough, five years down the track I was DJ'ing alongside him at Uni Pub.

"The way he was working it and had the crowd going, I was hypnotised."

Tickets to the game will be $5, with all money raised going towards supporting rugby league in developing nations.

SATURDAY: Latin Heat v Thailand Stars at Raiders Belconnen, 7pm. Tickets $5 at the gate. Under-18s curtain-raiser between Latin Heat v Mediterranean at 5pm.