Taking a shine to Honey Badger

When Nick Cummins speaks, people listen - even if they are not quite sure what he is on about.

The Western Force and Wallabies star has become a cult figure courtesy of his one- liners and an alter ego that has become as famous as himself - the honey badger.

His legend grew last weekend when, soon after the Force held on to defeat New Zealand Super 14 team the Highlanders, the commentary team crossed to Cummins for a sidelines chat they labelled "the best post-match interview ever".

Having first described his stumbling try attempt as a "head over biscuit" effort, the 26-year-old was asked to explain the origins of his honey badger nickname, and soon had his interviewer, Melodie Robinson, in fits of laughter.

"The badge? Long story short, basically there was a documentary on National Geographic or Animal Planet, one of them Fox set-ups, and I watched this thing and this honey badger was going toe to toe with a male lion and it was underneath him, the underdog obviously," Cummins said.

"But he's on his back, clawing away, one, two, and then bloody, the big fella (lion) got his canastas clawed off and he trotted off round the corner and fell over and the badger gets back up and I thought, 'What an animal, that's bloody, that's impressive'."

Cummins has attracted thousands of followers on social media, posting a picture on Instagram this week of him fishing off Fremantle "waiting for a big bastard to launch", while a men's magazine recently labelled him "Australia's funniest footballer".

Another recent Instagram post shows him changing a tyre with the caption: "BRA (Badger's Roadside Assist) Free service & chin wag."

He met his girlfriend Martine Thomassen, a student from Norway, when she was visiting Perth four years ago.

Beneath the woolly headed, boggle-eyed stare there is a lot more to Cummins, who moved to Perth to join the Force in 2007 and is one of the club's longest-serving players

A glimpse of that came last year when he was voted Australian rugby's players' player not just because he bounced back to blistering form on the Wallabies spring tour but because of his charity work with Cystic Fibrosis Australia, the Cancer Council and Ronald McDonald House.

Cummins, who was born in NSW and raised south of Brisbane, has two siblings with cystic fibrosis and his father was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year.

"I don't have a lot of confidence in the system of care that we have today so I spend a lot of time acquiring unorthodox, unconventional knowledge about healing," Cummins recently told _The Weekend West _.

"My family has a little bit of sickness so I look at other ways, alternative ways of treating things like cystic fibrosis and cancer.

"There's not one thing that you have to do. We're not designed like that. You find something that's interesting and you keep bouncing through life, developing and growing, doing one thing can open the door to something else that you might not otherwise have seen."

Cummins said he had "done a 180" since his days as an altar boy. "I think I'm very spiritual but not very religious," he said.

"You get the best results from looking inwards at your wellbeing, finding the truth about yourself.

"I don't mind daydreaming every now and then though.

"I get a fair bit done when I'm daydreaming." 'You find something interesting and you keep bouncing through life.'" Nick Cummins

The West Australian

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