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Eamon to that

Date: 24/10/2010
Words: 807
Source: SHD
          Publication: Sun Herald
Section: S
Page: 2
Steph Rice sure let a good'un slip away in the form of Commonwealth Games medallist Eamon Sullivan (below, left).

While glamour girl Rice has been splashing her love life over the red carpet with Wallaby Quade Cooper, Sullivan was cutely showing off snaps to S of his 97-year-old gran, who will visit him in Sydney from Perth with his family at Christmas time.

Not only is the uber-fit athlete a sweet guy, he can cook, as seen when he won Celebrity MasterChef.

The super-cute swimmer admits he cooks up a storm most nights, even if he's home alone or just for him and his flatmate.

"I'm constantly thinking about food," he laughs. "Every weekend I do a good three- to four-hour session." Of cooking - not swimming.

And S hears there's a cookbook ready to boil, with a book deal already inked. It sounds like it's more than your typical athlete health cookbook and is more modern-Australian cuisine. "We'll see," he says, remaining tight-lipped at the Sony Foundation Wharf4Ward luncheon on Thursday.

Shirvo loves his girls

Speaking of athletes, if you could bottle sprinter-turned-commentator Matt Shirvington, you would.

The Sky News sports presenter proved the perfect husband at wife Jess Shirvington's (pictured above with Matt) book launch last week, giving a gorgeous yet humorous speech about her that had most girls in the room doe-eyed and swooning.

"I haven't written a speech for nine years but I didn't write one at my wedding and, geez, I've been copping it ever since!" laughed the father of two girls, Sienna, 4, and Winter, 2, who, despite suffering a bout of Delhi belly, still soldiered on.

"We know the vampires still suck but the angels have landed," he said, brimming with pride about his wife's angelic novel, Embrace, which is hyped to be a big seller and has already sold internationally.

"It's the example she's setting for our two daughters, leaving it in a book which will last forever."

It wasn't all about his wife, though. Joking about the two heroic male leads in the love triangle, Shirvington quipped: "I don't know how she did it - but she split me in two!".

Mum's the word

Another athlete running high in the good hubby-to-be stakes is super-fit Geoff Huegill (below, right), who earned extra brownie points by taking his lovely Brisbane-based mother-in-law Caja to the Sony lunch. While she's waiting for grandchildren from Huegill and his fiancee, Sara Hills, who are looking to wed next year, she told S she's more than happy to shower her attention on the couple's teacup chihuahua, Coco, in the meantime.

Punter hits a six

Still with those sporting types, cricketer Ricky Ponting earned big brownie points this year when his wife, Rihanna, attended New York Fashion Week. "It was amazing but I missed [daughter] Emmy so much, although I knew she was in good hands with her dad," she says.

"I had it under control," laughs Ponting of the week he was left solely in charge on the home front.

And don't be surprised if the couple expand on their brood, Rihanna admitting to S she would welcome another tot eagerly.

He's got the moves

Qantas sure is getting its worth out of captain John Travolta. Not only is he shipping Oprah's 300 guests plus 150 crew here for her tour of O-Stralia in December but he will also be here in two weeks to celebrate the airline's 90th birthday with a huge gala dinner.

Meanwhile Oprah's Channel Ten stablemate, Angela Bishop, who has secured the only interview with the talk-show queen, recently admitted to S she has never been more popular. "People are coming out of the woodwork asking for tickets!" she told S.

Papps is back

Funny how life comes full circle. Home and Away's original pin-up Alex Papps (who played Frank Morgan when the show started in 1988) has written the script for an episode of the soap that will air on Wednesday night.

The actor recently bumped into the show's series producer, Cameron Welsh, at a party and mentioned he had been doing some writing for Play School.

After Welsh suggested Papps, who returned for a guest stint in 2002, sit in on a H&A script meeting, he was shocked to learn his former love interest, Alf's daughter Roo (played then by Justine Clarke but now played by Georgie Parker), was returning. It evidently got the creative juices flowing.

"I read the script notes and thought, 'Oh my god - Roo is coming back,"' Papps told S.

"I was grateful for the opportunity ... it felt fitting that I could cut my teeth on a show I have such a history with.

"Writing for characters like Marilyn and Alf was great fun as their voices were so familiar from my time working with them."

As for a Roo-Frank reunion, Alex says: "You never know!"

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