NRL Grand Final Winner Matt Parsons is the Men of League Guest Speaker

Matt Parsons celebrating winning the 2001 NRL Grand Final with the Newcastle Knights.


NRL Premiership winner Matt Parsons is this year’s guest speaker at the North Coast Men of League annual fundraising luncheon on Saturday 30 October.

Matt Parsons grew up in the country town of Werris Creek near Tamworth before embarking on an NRL career which started with the South Sydney Rabbitohs in 1997 and then the Newcastle Knights in 2000.

In his first year at the Knights they lost in the preliminary final to the Sydney Roosters.

The following year the prop forward reached a career high, winning the 2001 Premiership with the Newcastle Knights.

Parsons shared some of the highlights of his career with News Of The Area and the country values which helped him reach the top.

“Winning the premiership was the highlight of my career, to get the opportunity to play in a grand final is amazing but to win the competition is something else.

“I grew up playing country footy in Tamworth, which is similar to the Coffs Coast just without the water, strong family values and a hard work ethic were a haulmark of growing up in the country.

“I came from a hard-working, salt-of-the-earth background where my dad was a shearer and my mum worked for Telstra so I just had that bred into me.

“I never dreamed of playing in the NRL, I couldn’t even get into any of the rep teams, I just loved playing the game with my mates and throwing the footy.

“Then at the age of 17 and 18 I started to grow and suddenly I could compete against the bigger guys and I just got stronger and better, then I played some matches in Sydney and got spotted and it went from there,” he said.

After finishing his NRL career on a high, Parsons immediately returned to his home town of Werris Creek where it all began.

Parsons alluded to some of the challenges facing traditional sports and encouraged juniors to keep it simple and just get out and play.

“Back in my day you played footy all year and cricket in the summer, now youngsters have so many options of what sports to play or even to stay at home and play computer games.

“I encourage anyone to get out there and have a game with your mates, it doesn’t matter what sport, just get out there and play, there’s so many benefits,” said Parsons.

The Men of League Foundation provides assistance with everything from surgery, rehabilitation, equipment and specialist care to wellbeing visits to homes and hospitals to address social isolation and promote mental health, which Parsons is delighted to be part of.

“I’m delighted to be part of this organisation, a lot of people are doing it tough at the moment and it’s incredible how they are able to help the community and make a big difference,” said Parsons.



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