Partner’s name: Jess
Children’s names: Kade 9, Layla 7, Ethan 4 & Jesse 1.
Charity: Rural Aid

A two time premiership winner with the Roosters in 2013 and a key member of the Sharks’ inaugural triumph in 2016, James is one of the NRL’s great characters. Now in his second year at the Panthers, James has amassed almost 250 NRL games and played a key role in the past two years helping NSW regain Origin ascendancy against Queensland. Next season, he will be packing off his family after signing a deal with French club Catalans, where he finish his career in the English Super League after 14 NSW Origin appearances and three Tests with the Kangaroos. Away from football, James still finds time to spend with his wife Jess and four children. “It's very busy especially now the kids are playing sport,” James said of his large family. “We have commitments nearly every night of the week and weekends can be tough when they all play at the same time at different venues! But we wouldn't change it for anything. As hard as it can be at times they bring us so much joy.”  His wife Jess went onto say James’ best asset as a father is that he’s on their level, his playfulness and his ability to make life not so serious all the time.

I’m sure there are lots of special moments with the kids after games and on-field….was winning the Origin series over the last few years one of them? Definitely! Origin is such a massive occasion and the kids are beginning to understand that now they're a little bit older so it's awesome the have them out on the field doing a victory lap. They get a real buzz out of it as well. - James

Next year you will be moving to France with the family, are the kids super excited? They are excited, they have a few nerves about leaving their current friends and things like that which is to be expected but they’re excited and we're having some fun trying to learn some French before we go. - James

Did the kids help you make the decision to go? It's something we had always spoken about with the kids wanting to finish my career over there so they were aware it was always going to happen. - James

Are you going to miss the Panthers family, playing in the NRL and Australia? No doubt I will. I have amazing memories not only of Penrith but every club I've been at. I will miss the rep footy because I always loved the challenge that provided but you can't do it forever and I'm really excited for a new challenge in the Super League. - James

Favourite activity with the kids? I love doing anything outdoors. Walking the dog, playing at the park and watching their sport. - James

Do you relax with the kids on game day? Hanging with them helps keep my mind off footy and makes the day go faster. I usually lay around with them watching TV or something. - James

Most memorable moment with the kids? They’ve been there for all my big achievements. It’s special to share things like a victory lap after a grand final and an Origin win. They kids love to come into the sheds to sing the team song. - James

Tell us a bit about Jessica and how important she is to the family? She is the backbone of our family. It would all fall apart without her, she has to do everything on her own when I'm away with footy and she's still there to support me when I come home filthy about a loss. On top of that she somehow finds time to study nursing via correspondence so she's an absolute weapon! - James

What makes James such a great father? He always wants to play and spend time with the kids. The time he spends with them is special and he is patient with them. He’s always teaching them things to help them grow into good people. - Jess

What makes dad so great?
Because he does everything for me. - Kade
He takes us to school. - Layla
He brushes our teeth! - Ethan

What’s the best thing dad does for you?
Takes us to fun places - Kade
He gets our breakfast - Layla
He takes me rock climbing. - Ethan


Sports Dad of the Year 2019
 
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