Sam Thaiday - NRL

Partner’s name: Rachel
Children’s names: Gracie (5) and Ellsie (3)

A 300 game veteran with the Brisbane Broncos and mainstay of the Queensland Maroons and Kangaroos for more than a decade, Sam Thaiday has proven himself to be one of the NRL’s most feared players for more than a decade. Recently, he announced this season would be his last in a glittering career that has earned him 29 caps for the all-conquering Queensland Maroons, 32 Test jerseys for the Kangaroos and countless fans across the country for his larrikin nature and sense of humour away from the field. Sam’s personality is such that he won’t be lost to the game post retirement, as he is already carving out a media career. One thing retirement will enable him to do is spend time with his two girls. And big Sam can’t wait! “The girls have come along later in my football career and have definitely become a focus of drive in my football life … they’re a huge inspiration,” Sam said. “I love when they come to games and, when we can, Rachel brings them interstate as well. The girls sometimes come onto the field and I cherish those moments, having them walk hand in hand and stroll around with me. In their eyes, it’s just daddy’s job at the end of the day and they just want you back home.” His wife Rachel went onto say “Sam’s best asset as a father is his strength and loyalty. He loves his girls to the moon and back and he is pretty hilarious … which makes things always entertaining!”

How tough is spending so much time away from the girls during the season? It’s always hard being away from family, but my family has always been very supportive of my career and at the end of the day, what I’m doing is all for them … for my kids’ future. It is hard missing those milestones and little moments. But thank God for Facetime and camera phones! - Sam

Tell us about the game day routine? The girls let me have a sleep in on game days. When the girls were born they become part of the routine. We do our morning walk to the local café with the girls on their scooters and I try to eat my breakfast before my three-year-old Ellsie steals all my bacon! - Sam

How much has life changed since they were born? It’s changed big time! You learn you have to balance it all – footy, family and all. It makes it so much harder to go away as well. They’re little and they don’t understand. They don’t know you have a big game and they share all the sicknesses from day care and school. But I wouldn’t change anything for the world. Life becomes about them. - Sam

What’s your daily family routine like? Bath time is around 5.30 and then, after dinner, we take one girl each for foot massage, oil time, brushing teeth time and then we read a book! On the weekend we do pancakes, bike rides, playing in the park, creek adventures, gardening. I also play the tea lady in the cubby house! - Sam

It really sounds like you enjoy being a dad? It’s definitely hard work but it’s the most rewarding thing you can do. They look at you like you’re the best thing ever and a hero in their eyes. They make me laugh too, my little girls. - Sam

What’s your favourite activity with the girls? Using our imagination, putting on shows, dancing to Aladdin and The Greatest Showman. - Sam

Best part of the day with the girls? Coming home to them and dinner time. We always sit around the dinner table and tell each other about the best part of our day and what we’re looking forward to the next day. It teaches them about gratitude and I love the little stories the girls bring home from school. We also have joke time around the table, but you’ve got to fake laugh sometimes! - Sam

Favourite holiday destination? The Sunshine Coast. We love spending time together with the kids on the beach, just in the surf, building sand castle, heading out to breakfast. We have some close friends up there and love hanging out at Peregian. We’ve also loved Tasmania and have been to Abu Dhabi to visit Rachel’s brother. - Sam

What makes Sam such a great father? His patience and loyalty. He would give you the shirt off his back and is so supportive of everything the girls do. He will get dressed up in full Moana outfit just to be part of it all! - Rachel

What makes your dad so great? He gives me to the best hugs and I love it when he dances with me. - Gracie

What is the best thing dad does for you? He hugs me and I know I’m mummy’s girl, but I want to be daddy’s girl too! - Gracie


Sports Dad of the Year 2018
 
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