A Few Beers With….
  |  First Published: December 2007

Name, age, partner, kids and where’s home?

Name, Ben James Kennedy, partner Emma. Three kids, Bryce, 10, Alex, 8 (girl), Fletcher, 5.

You retired from the NRL at the end of 2006 and moved to Brisbane to buy and run a fruit shop - how has this transition been for you and your family?

The transition has been fairly smooth sailing. We moved into a beautiful house in a nice quiet suburb just down the road from work. The kids go to a terrific school and all three of them play sport on the weekends. My wife is close to Chermside shopping centre, which in her books is very important and we own a farm in Kyogle which is about 2.5 hours away, so we get to go there a lot more.

What is your first fishing memory or first fish?

The first memory is up on my grandma’s farm at Loadstone via Kyogle. Gradys Creek runs through the farm and I remember taking six worms down to the creek with some fishing line that was as thick as shoe laces wrapped around an old bottle, threw my first bait in and watched the catfish fight over it. From six worms I caught 7 catfish and an eel.

Your favourite style of fishing?..

My favourite style of fishing is definitely with either hard body lures or plastics. I love casting, to me there is nothing more rewarding then picking the right lure, seeing a good spot where you think a good fish should be, nailing the cast and hooking the fish. Although I do enjoy bait fishing for drummer off the rocks or fishing on beach for anything.

How many days a year you fish?

I definitely try to go fishing once a week if not more. On holidays if there is water around somewhere I will have a crack at it every day. If I only have a short time I will walk to a dam or take the kayak for a paddle somewhere. It is my passion so I get out as much as I can. Overall I would say about 80 to 90 times a year.

Your favourite fishing memory/moment?

It happened just recently up at Engylegout Island in Arnhem land, We were fishing for barra and I saw a big queenie go under the boat, I flicked a lure out to her and she smashed it. It ran about 50m then stopped and came straight back directly at the boat, launched itself a meter before the boat, got as high as our eye level right in front of us thrashing her gills and crunching my lure as she went past and landed about a meter past the boat. She then took another 120m of line heading to the mangroves, and I only just stopped her about 10m short. She took me about 20 to 25 mins to land. It was an awesome fish and I had a great mate in the boat to share the experience with

Your favourite fishing destination/s? Australian and abroad?

I have a few, I absolutely loved Englygout Island, not only for the fish we were catching but over all it was just so bloody enjoyable, great fishing, great food, fantastic guides and champion blokes to fish with, definitely an annual for me. I also love fishing the Clarence River for bass with my mate Kevin Clark, He knows every nook and cranny of the river and pretty much every bass and cod that lives there. The scenery and wild life around there is unbelievable with some very big bass available.

You are involved with the Secret Creek lure company with good mate Mick Butcher - this must be fun designing lures and then catching fish on them? You have introduce hard body’s now they look they will be a huge hit in our waterways?

The lure thing is a hobby I do with a mate, and I really enjoy doing it. We have meetings and get to fish with a lot of fantastic people through doing it. Butch and I are blessed that we know a lot of very experienced fisherman who have been in the industry a long time and helped us out with designs and advice. I have to say it is very exciting to tie one of your own lures on and catch a fish, or watch a mate catch a fish with your lure.

Your NRL career has some pretty good stats - you have played for Canberra, Newcastle and Manly, not to mention playing for your home state NSW and to compliment all of that, you have played for Australia. How are you handling stepping out of such a great career?

I am handling retirement very well, it was certainly time to hang the boots up. Since retiring I have been to many games, in dressing rooms before, at half time, and at the end of games and I can honestly say that I don't miss the playing part of it at all. The thing that I miss is not being around my mates that I played with anymore. I was very lucky in my career that I got to choose my last Australian game, my last game for my state and my last club game, I left on my own terms and I am very comfortable with my decisions.

What’s you best NRL memory?

It would have to be the premiership in 2001 with Newcastle. We were such a close group it was awesome to win with each other. The town went off, we got back to the ground at Newcastle at around 3am and the stadium was absolutely packed. At the end they jumped the fence and carried us off the field.

Who are the greatest 3 players you have played with or against?

Very easy one to pick the first: Andrew Johns is an absolute stand out, brilliant in every asset of the game. I have some wonderful memories of playing with Joey. Some other players I loved playing with are Brett Mullins and Timana Tahu, they are both unbelievable athletes and could do some ridiculously brilliant things on the footy field.

What’s the future hold for BK???

Not sure what the future holds, hopefully early retirement and a lot of fishing. I would like to have a crack at a few bream or bass tournaments once I can semi retire and can put some time into it. I still have a bit of competitiveness left but skill and talent may be a slight hurdle there.

Who are your most influential 5 people in regards to your NRL Career?

Tim Sheens was the one to get me over from rugby union to league, I only had him for a year but his professionalism and guidance really set me up. Ricky Stuart helped talk me into playing league, he even rung my mother a couple of times. Then when I went to Canberra he put me up at his place for half a year. He has since always been there with some advice. I loved playing for him when he was coach of Australia and NSW, he knew how to get the best out of me. Lastly, three of my best mates, Stephen Jones, Mick Newton and David Lamond. They would always be brutally honest with me whether it was good or bad.

Anyone you would like to thank that have helped you get where you are today?

Thank, My wife, close family and friends, But most of all my three beautiful children, Their Daddy loves them more than the world.

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