Thu 30 January
From a hotel room in Hull to the tunnel at Wembley Stadium - being part of Team 13 has been an experience to remember! My name's Ben Thompson and RLWC2013.com has asked me to document my journey as a Volunteer for Rugby League World Cup 2013.
By the time of my first shift, RLWC2013 had already kicked off, with the Opening Ceremony having taken place in Cardiff the day before.
I watched both matches live on the BBC at home and it was great to see two big games taking centre stage in the UK.
But my first game was at Craven Park in Hull, for PNG vs France.
And it’s the game I will remember most for being scared half to death by France captain Olivier Elima.
There was one minute left in the match and I’d found myself pitchside, right next to the French dugouts.
The Kumuls were losing by a point after a drop goal from William Barthau, but Barthau went from hero to villain by conceding a penalty 30 metres out.
At this point, Elima was on the bench going absolutely ballistic. He started attacking the side of the dugout, barely two metres away from me.
Not only did I fear for my life when I saw his bulging eyes, but I also learnt some new French words.
Luckily for both Elima and Barthau, David Mead spectacularly missed the penalty attempt for PNG and the French picked up their first win of the tournament.
My next job was to join the TV crew on the field and take notes from the post-match broadcast interviews.
From then it was a case of anically try to work out how to write in shorthand, and publishing the notes on the RLWC2013 website.
It was brilliant to be right next to the cameras interviewing these players and coaches (if a little daunting), most notably PNG Head Coach Adrian Lam, a legend of the game.
I went on to do the same at the post match press conference, and again it was a privilege to be a part of the experience.
I left that day completely ecstatic. I’d been behind the scenes at a RLWC2013 game, seen how a match is run and what the media do on a matchday and it was even more than I’d imagined. And there were four more games to go!