John Skandalis

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John Skandalis
John Skandalis (23 April 2005).jpg
Skandalis in 2005
Personal information
Nickname Skando
Born (1976-06-16) 16 June 1976 (age 38)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Playing information
Height 190 cm (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 113 kg (17 st 11 lb)
Position Prop
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1996–1999 Wests Magpies 64 3 0 0 12
2000–2006 Wests Tigers 166 15 0 0 60
2007–2008 Huddersfield Giants 46 5 0 0 20
2009–2010 Wests Tigers 19 1 0 0 4
Total 295 24 0 0 96
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2002–2006 City Origin 4 1 0 0 0
Source: League Central NRL Stats RLP

John Skandalis (born 16 June 1976 in Sydney, New South Wales) is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer of the 1990s and 2000s for the Wests Tigers of the NRL. He played previously for the Western Suburbs Magpies and Huddersfield Giants. Skandalis primarily played at prop forward.

Background[edit]

Skandalis' mother died when he was in his teens, leaving his father to raise Skandalis and his sisters. He was "taken in" by Josie McGuinness, the mother of Kevin and Ken McGuinness, who, he says, "treated him like [a] son."[1]

Playing career[edit]

Skandalis was the last original Western Suburbs player remaining at the Wests Tigers club after the merger in 2000. He signed on for the Magpies in the early 1990s after playing out his junior years with the Minto Cobras, and attending Sarah Redfern High School.[2] His first grade debut came in round 9 of the 1996 season against the Penrith Panthers on 17 May. He scored the first try for the Wests Tigers in 2000.

Skandalis was known for his workhorse attitude and his never say die approach to rugby league and as the years progressed his performances gradually caught the attention of representative selectors. This was seen in both the 2002 and 2004 seasons where Skandalis was dually awarded with his first representative call up for City team in the annual City v. Country fixture. Skandalis was named the Wests Tigers' player of the year in 2002.[3]

Skandalis was a member of the Wests Tigers team which won the 2005 NRL Grand Final against the Cowboys. He was named in the Big League team of the year for the 2005 NRL season.[4] As NRL Premiers Wests faced Super League champions Bradford Bulls in the 2006 World Club Challenge. Skandalis played as a prop forward in the Tigers' 30-10 loss. Skandalis held the record for the most first grade games for the Wests Tigers with 185 appearances. In 2012 the record was surpassed by Chris Heighington, though Skandalis had previously played 64 games for Wests Magpies before the club merged.

On 14 June 2006, Skandalis signed a two-year contract to play in Super League with the Huddersfield Giants, starting from the 2007 season. In 2008, Skandalis was made vice-captain of the squad, alongside Ryan Hudson. He led the team out against Wigan when regular captain Chris Thorman was injured.

Skandalis returned to Australia at the end of the 2008 season following a knee injury, picked up early in the season, which prevented him from participating further. Skandalis took up a post with Wests Tigers Youth Development.[5]

In 2009, Skandalis was named in the Wests Magpies NSW Cup side, but was recalled to the Wests Tigers team from round 11, after injuries to other players.[6] He remained in the first grade team for the rest of the season. The Skandalis family home in Lightning Ridge burnt down when John was six, causing the family to move to Ashfield, and later Minto.[7] After the end of the 2009 season, Skandalis announced he would be retiring and taking up the position of strength and conditioning coach with the Wests Tigers NYC team.[8] However, Skandalis returned to play for the Magpies in the middle of the 2010 season, and then, in July, made a shock comeback with the Tigers,[9] coach Tim Sheens saying, "I can't get rid of the guy."[10] Playing another 5 games, he fell just short of making his 250th NRL appearance. He is the oldest player to have played at the club, being 34 years and 73 days old in his last appearance for the club.[3] The inaugural "Philips Sports Dad of the Year" was awarded to Skandalis in late 2009, narrowly defeating Brett Kimmorley.[11] He donated the money to the Starlight Children's Foundation. Skandalis has been made a life member of the Western Suburbs club.[12]

Skandalis' Greek heritage made him eligible to represent Greece, which he did as captain.[13] He played for Greece in the 2009 Australian Mediterranean Shield.[14] Greece won the final 34-14 against Italy.[15]

Post-playing career[edit]

Having spent 2 years with the Wests Tigers' NYC team, in 2012 Skandalis became the clubs head conditioner.[16]

Skandalis has been involved in the Macquarie Fields Finding Jobs, Changing Lives program, helping troubled youth from the Macquarie Fields area.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Once a rebel, Skando finds cause close to his heart". Sydney Morning Herald. 2 November 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  2. ^ "Remembering Minto". Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  3. ^ a b David Middleton (editor) (2010). 2010 Official Rugby League Annual. Alexandria NSW, 2015: News Magazines for the National Rugby League. p. 181. 
  4. ^ Middleton, David (Editor); 2009 Official Rugby League Annual; published 2010 for the National Rugby League by News Magazines, Alexandria NSW, 2015
  5. ^ Giants' Skando to go http://www.examiner.co.uk/huddersfield-giants/huddersfield-giants-news/2008/07/24/giants-skando-to-go-86081-21395497
  6. ^ Steve Jancetic (19 May 2009). "John Skandalis answers Tigers' SOS". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 May 2009. 
  7. ^ Daniel Lane (2009). Forever Brothers. Lane Cove, New South Wales: Dolphin Press. pp. 154–155. ISBN 978-0-9803578-5-1. 
  8. ^ Adrian Proszenko (22 November 2009). "Skandalis retires … for good, this time". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  9. ^ "Broncos back to full strength". ABC Grandstand Sport. 13 July 2010. Retrieved 23 July 2010. 
  10. ^ Glenn Jackson (24 September 2010). "Not buts about it, veteran prop is champing at bit for another run". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  11. ^ Phil Rothfield and Rebecca Wilson (6 September 2009). "Skando top of the pops". Daily Telegraph (Australia). Retrieved 22 September 2009. 
  12. ^ "2009 Pratten Park Reunion". Noel Kelly's Kids. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  13. ^ http://www.rleague.com/db/article.php?id=26728
  14. ^ "Making league a world game". Cumberland Courier. 6 October 2009. Retrieved 23 December 2010. 
  15. ^ "Australian Mediterranean Shield GREECE vs. ITALY". Canterbury-Bankstown Express. 19 October 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2010. 
  16. ^ David Beniuk (19 November 2011). "NRL pre-season gets tough for Tigers". Roar. Retrieved 25 January 2012. 

External links[edit]