Get to know Benji

The doting dad and father to Fox polled more than 20 per cent of the votes in 2019 to beat out NRL colleagues Cameron Smith, David Klemmer, Matt Scott, James Maloney and John Sutton, AFL stars Jack Darling and Scott Pendlebury, NBA superstar Joe Ingles and Test cricketer Matthew Wade. “I’m very proud and honoured to win the award,” a humble Benji said.

“I just want to thank people who supported me and all the other dads.” Besides winning the title, Benji will donate his $5000 prize to Ronald McDonald House. “I was in there not long ago and seeing how much they needed to do around the place, and kids doing it tough…..the work Ronald McDonald House does looking after families that are not from around here is amazing. They help families stay together and close to the care they need when their child is fighting a serious illness. Now I have a son in Fox, seeing what the families go through and the work Ronald McDonald House does, I think this $5000 can only help add to their facilities and improve people’s quality of life. This donation will allow them to keep up the great work.”I just feel privileged being a dad. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I feel pretty lucky. Just getting to see him grow every day, just change – he’s gone from crawling to walking to talking. It’s the greatest. But I can’t take all the credit for raising such a nice child, my wife Zoe is just unbelievable.”

QHow hard is it spending time away from the family during the season?

AIt’s getting harder and harder. Being away is the worst part of my job because I miss him so much. We FaceTime every day when he wakes up and every night before he goes to bed. It’s awesome because he is really starting to communicate and interact and we have such a great time together.

QWhat is your favourite activity with Fox?

AI love bath time but we love getting out of the house together like going to our local cafe for a babyccino and coffee and because he is so social he loves talking and interacting with other people. We also both love guitar time where I just play guitar and we sing songs. He loves music.

QDo you have any memorable moments with Fox at this early stage?

AYeah of course. Some big ones are always firsts. Like when he first walked was an amazing memory … I actually cried! Also when he said mum for the first time, because he said dad first I felt bad so I said Mum every day to him a hundred times until he could say Mum. I’m obviously the fav though!

QWhat’s the best part about being a dad?

AEverything! I love all of it. Fox is by far the best thing that has ever happened to me.

QOn game day, do you like to relax with the family or is there a set routine?

AWhen I am home on game day that preparation doesn’t start until I leave home to drive to the game. Dad duties still have to be done no matter what day it is. Plus I love it!

QIf he was to take after you and become a professional sportsperson would you be comfortable with that, any advice for him?

AYeah of course!!! But he can become whatever he wants. I would be just as
happy if he didn’t want to be a professional sportsperson and wanted to go down the arts path like his mum. At the end of the day I will encourage him to try everything and then see what he enjoys the most. My advice would then be you get out what you put in so however great you want to be is up to you!!!!

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