Next up, from the Gameday lineup, we have recently retired NRL star, and the Wests Tigers ex Vice Captain, Matt Ballin, here to answer a few questions. Welcome to Gameday Matt!
GD - "When did you get into rugby"?
"I first started rugby league playing when I was 4 years old. I grew up in a country town called Kingaroy and played for the Kingaroy red ants and have played all the way through until now".
"When you were growing up did you want to be a rugby player"?
"Always, ever since I could remember, I just remember watching my older brothers play, I always remember playing when I was young and when you start at 4 you remember little things about scoring tries and playing. I remember the frost on the field at Kingaroy, it was barefoot back in those days as little fellas, then as I got older I wanted to play for the Brisbane Broncos and that was always my dreams, so to be actually doing that now is an amazing experience and I’m extremely grateful".
"How did you get into rugby league"?
"I had two older brothers who both played and mum and dad were heavily involved in the rugby league club as well, so, I guess I just followed their example. I always remember just wanting to play, I always just wanted to be around my mates kicking the footy from a really young age".
"Did you try lots of sports where you a sporty kid or just rugby"?
"I did swimming, touch football but rugby league was the main. I probably stuck to those 3. I have always been involved in some sort of sport whether it was league or swimming, and summer or winter I was always involved in something".
If you weren’t playing rugby, what would you be doing?
"I'd be a high school teacher, I am actually studying to be a high school teacher, I’m basically finished I just have a few pracs to do. So, if I wasn’t playing and when I do finish playing I will be a high school teacher, specialising in health and physical education. I just really enjoy teaching kids and seeing their progress and passing on knowledge and information".
"What years levels do you think you will teach"?
"It'll be high school, so mainly year 7 - year 12 and you can get anything at that stage. You can get maths, which ill be terrible at or mainly P.E and health. Yeah, all the way through high school".
GD - "At that age group, you can make such a big impact on kids".
"Yeah for sure, that’s probably why I would like to do it right I remember having really good teachers at the high school I went to and that had a massive impact on my life and I’m still mates with them now and still chat to them. That’s probably the main reason I want to do the same for them".
"Have you ever had a moment you counted your lucky stars you wore a mouthguard"?
"Oh yeah, plenty, even more recently at training when I started getting back into contact work after my injury. Out of the blue I copped a heel, it flung around and got me on the side of the mouth, and lucky I had my gameday mouthguard in, even at training I wear my gameday mouthguard, all the time. That's one case in particular, another time, I had a big sharks Cronulla forward running at me and I copped his knee right in my front teeth and I had my mouthguard in so lucky I was protected. I’ll always wear a mouthguard when playing or training for rugby league because its so important".
"Now for some fun, do you have any nicknames"?
"I’ve had a few different nicknames at a few different clubs, It depends on what clubs you go to, I had a nickname MB fitness because I had a fitness company and I just used my name Matt Ballin fitness. At the Tigers though they just called me dickie knee because I have had two knee injuries since being there. That's about it those are the two basic ones".
"Do you have any hobbies"?
"Yeah, ha-ha before my knee injuries, I would like walk and hike up mountains. I've been hitting a few golf balls with a mate lately too, not good enough yet for a handicap though. I like to keep pretty active away from league".
"What tv show are you ashamed to admit you love"?
The notebook, it a real tear jerker. Ashamed and 100 percent honest.
Thanks Matt and good luck with your next chapter as Mr Ballin.
Thanks Gameday. :)