He was a fabulous sight in full flight and used his speed and anticipation to score 21 tries. Inside Sport caught up with him to investigate the secrets of his success ‒ at work and play.
Do you remember ever getting into a fight on the football paddock?
Yes. Though, I probably only ever threw one, maybe two punches in my whole life. I was playing a club game in Brisbane against Wests and they had this 70-kilo openside flanker who was the skinniest little kid ever, and for some reason I went over and threw a punch at him, and he knocked me out. I was gone! After that I decided it wasn’t a good space for me to be in, throwing punches.
Tell me about your professional life since you left the game. Are we talking the old boys’ rugby network, or do you have a natural talent for brokering billion-dollar property deals?
Well, when I was playing, even professionally, I was working on any day off. I studied. I had a cadetship. Then after I finished I worked for a small investment bank. And I’ve been here at Goodman for eight years. Regarding that rugby network, it can be a benefit, but it can also be of detriment to you. There’s probably more focus on your performance than anyone else. The spotlight is on you. But I always found that when I was playing, if I was also working or studying, for some reason I seemed to play better football. I don’t know whether that was because I was better balanced in life or had a broader outlook on things, or whether it was just an escape away from rugby, but I definitely noticed it.
How’s the work-life balance these days?
I do enjoy my work and its responsibilities, but the balance side is tough – you’ve got to have a good family life, a good work life, and something else stimulating you ... I turned 40 last year, and the injuries start to kick in a bit, so you try to find alternative exercise – for my birthday I got a mountain bike and a Malibu surfboard ...
Someone trying to give you the hint there?
Exactly. They were both from my wife.
We didn’t see you Wallabies getting into any sort of trouble back in the 1990s. Were there just lots of well-kept secrets? Or was that the Bob Dwyer effect? He had you going to art galleries and the theatre on tour, didn’t he?
Bob was great like that. He had a good switch between enjoying the country you were in and also knowing when to train and switch on – he had a good balance on things. Also the fact is that when we played you didn’t have the money to get into trouble.