Photo by Broncos Media
Brisbane Broncos forward Rhys Kennedy has found himself playing first grade on a more consistent basis over the past couple of years and is now looking to cement himself as an NRL player.
Rising through the ranks, he has had to work hard to get where he is today.
“I started by moving to Melbourne and played SG Ball and under 20’s while finishing school,” Kennedy recounted to Everything Rugby League.
“I then signed a two-year-deal with Canberra and spent my time slugging away in reserve grade. Although we were winning games and having a good time, things went backwards in my career from then on.”
After being let go by the Raiders and couple more relocation’s, Kennedy found himself working various jobs to support himself whilst plugging away in the lower grades.
“I wasn’t re-signed at Canberra so I made the move to Wollongong as a part-time player with the Dragons’ feeder club. I went back to work as a labourer as well as chipping away at a uni degree (Bachelor of Exercise Science).
“I couldn’t gain a full-time spot there so I moved to Sydney to play part-time with the North Sydney Bears. By this point I was working as a personal trainer and Uber driver.”
All the shifting from city to city eventually started to take it’s toll on the 25-year-old which resulted in some self doubt creeping in.
“Having to move around so much was really taking a toll on me. I couldn’t find my consistency in football or my life. I was doubting my football ability.
“I remember talking to my friends and family saying this is my last year. I will give it one more good crack. Both of my older brothers have had a huge influence on my Rugby League.
“I had a pretty good season at the Bears which allowed me to be picked up full-time by the South Sydney Rabbitohs.”
Not too long after signing that full-time contract, Kennedy would make his NRL debut for the Bunnies.
An overall humbling and great occurrence for him.
“I made my debut in round 3, 2019 as an Uber driver and university student.
“One of my best memories is making my debut next to Sam Burgess and John Sutton. I remember Sammy pumping me up and giving me a pep talk as I first got on the field.
“Overall my debut was one of the best days of my life. Having my family with me. Especially them knowing the sacrifices I gave and the commitment and dedication not to give up.”
A tenured background in the Canterbury Cup competition partnered with now regular first grade appearances has allowed Kennedy to work out a key difference between the two leagues.
“The NRL is much faster then NSW Cup. The stoppages are shorter so you have to be more clinical on both sides of the football or you’ll pay.”
In June 2019, Kennedy made the move from the Rabbitohs to the Broncos, for the same reason many players just breaking into first grade switch clubs, more opportunities.
“I knew the coach [Anthony Seibold] was more interested in me and that I’d get more opportunities at the Broncos.”
As things stand the front-rower is into the last year of his contract at the Broncos.
He is hoping to re-sign with the club soon, but for the time being the focus is on playing good football and helping Brisbane turn their current form slump around.
“I would love to stay at the Broncos, really enjoying my time. Though for now it’s about trying to win games.”
*Follow Rhys on his Instagram here