By ADAM CARROLL
SHANE Globits had no way of knowing a knee injury he suffered as a 16-year-old would be a major turning point towards him one day becoming one of the best lawn bowlers in Australia.
Globits claimed the biggest prize in Australian lawn bowls on Saturday when he won the inaugural Australian Open singles title in Melbourne.
The 28-year-old pocketed $12,000 for the win, a sum he says 'isn't too bad for five days work'.
Growing up in South Grafton, Globits had two loves ? rugby league and lawn bowls.
It was his involvement in rugby league which led to his initial introduction to lawn bowls as a 14-year-old.
"I used to play football for the South Grafton Rebels and we had a charity day and I happened to have a game with my old man and from there I just started playing football and bowls," Globits said from his Gold Coast home yesterday.
Globits joined the South Grafton Bowling Club and continued to play both sports for two years before fate intervened.
A football-related knee injury spelt the end of his rugby league days.
It was a blessing in disguise.
With league out of the way, Globits switched his focus entirely to lawn bowls, and after finishing school at South Grafton High in 1994, he moved to the Gold Coast to hone his craft.
Saturday's win showed just how far he has come.
As the reigning Queensland singles champion, Globits joined fellow State champions and current Australian team members in the main draw.
More than 700 qualifiers vied for a spot in the main draw.
Globits went into the tournament full of confidence.
"It's (the Australian Open) the biggest tournament you can win in Australia," Globits said.
"I've had a pretty good year. I'm the number one player in Queensland so I thought I was a chance."
In a one-sided final, Globits proved too strong for Port Macquarie's Bruce Anderson in straight sets, 7-2 8-6. He won seven matches on his way to the title.
Globits, a member of the Paradise Point Bowling Club, became a father in 2004 when his wife, Erin, gave birth to a baby girl, Peyton. Erin is the step-daughter of former Daily Examiner general manager, Trevor Lee.
Fortunately for the young family, there is now money to be made for top-line lawn bowlers.
"I'm professional now," Globits said. "I also work for the bowls club, I'm the bowls administrator. I basically organise all of our sponsors and tournaments and ... player recruitment.
"I get a couple of trips overseas now, there is big money overseas."
Globits tries to return to South Grafton whenever he can to visit his parents, Vic and Dale, and his mates at the South Grafton Bowling Club.?
But it maybe a while before his next visit. He will return to Victoria next month to represent Queensland at the Australian Su- per League titles at Moama.