One Huddersfield family will definitely be glued to the television at nine o’clock on Saturday morning.
Jermaine McGillvary’s girlfriend Hannah Wright, his mum Velda, grandma Rita and grandad Sam, plus his three children Isaac, seven, Elijah, four, and five-month-old Ezra, will all be willing the Huddersfield Giants winger to help England win the rugby league World Cup.
The 29-year-old, who is from Bradley, will be on the wing as England face hosts Australia in the final which is being played in Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.
Having scored seven tries and carried the ball for more than 1,000m in England’s run to the final, McGillvary has elevated himself from a rugby league star to something of a national sporting treasure.
And girlfriend Hannah says the whole family have been delighted by the reaction to his feats.
“He has done so well. We all totally believe in him, but sometimes he doesn’t believe in himself and he is so humble,” said Hannah.
“However, he is feeling really confident and he is very pleased with what he has achieved.
“I have spoken to him pretty much every day and he is taking all the attention in his stride and is just carrying on as he normally would.
“He is enjoying himself, he has said he is missing the kids, but we have told him not to worry about us and just enjoy himself.”
The McGillvary clan are perhaps the epitome of a close-knit family.
Growing up in Bradley, the young Jermaine at one stage lived in a three-bedroom terraced house with 10 of his family, including his grandparents, who moved to Huddersfield from Grenada in 1976, mum and a number of aunties and uncles.
“The whole family is really proud of him,” added Hannah.
“His grandma has been watching the games, which when he plays for the Giants she doesn’t because she gets scared of what might happen to him.
“But his grandma and grandad have been watching all the games from the World Cup.”
Hannah did have fleeting plans to head to the Suncorp for the game, but the family will be at home in Huddersfield together to watch the tournament showpiece.
“We are going to be watching the game at home, probably all of us at Jermaine’s mum’s,” said Hannah.
“We did look at going out to Australia for the final, but we decided that a three-day trip would be too much for the kids.
“But we will all be getting together and we will be making our own ‘Jerry’ masks to wear during the game.”
McGillvary made a fairly late switch into rugby league, prompted by Giants teammate Leroy Cudjoe, after starting out as a footballer, and his son Isaac is following in those footsteps.
The seven-year-old is on the books with Premier League leaders Manchester City and is proud of what his dad is achieving.
“Isaac is very critical of Jermaine and Jermaine will criticise Isaac,” explained Hannah.
“Quite often after Giants games, Isaac will say ‘you didn’t do as well as last week’, but with the way Jermaine has been playing at the World Cup he hasn’t had a chance to say anything critical at all!
“Isaac is having a fantastic time playing across at Manchester City, he is a very good footballer, but then Jermaine wasn’t too bad himself.”
McGillvary’s exploits have certainly promoted the profile of Huddersfield Giants – who he joined in 2007 and for whom he has scored almost 250 tries.
Hannah says fans of the Claret and Gold will not have been surprised by what McGillvary has achieved.
“We are all Giants fans now,” said Hannah.
“I have to admit I didn’t watch them before Jermaine started playing for them, but we have been watching them for quite some time now.
“I don’t think anyone who watches the Giants will be surprised by what Jermaine has done with England at the World Cup.
“He has done exactly what he has done in all his time at the Giants.
“He has worked hard in training and at his game – and it is just fantastic that he is now getting real recognition for the work he has put in.”