Ben Ikin

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Ben Ikin
Personal information
Full nameBenjamin Ikin
Born (1977-02-21) 21 February 1977 (age 43)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Playing information
Height185 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Weight90 kg (14 st 2 lb)
PositionCentre, Five-eighth
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1995 Gold Coast Seagulls 8 0 1 0 2
1996–99 North Sydney Bears 87 35 4 0 148
2000–04 Brisbane Broncos 55 18 2 0 76
Total 150 53 7 0 226
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1995–03 Queensland 17 3 0 0 12
1998 Australia 2 0 0 0 0

Benjamin Ikin (born 21 February 1977) is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer and works as a presenter for Fox Sports. An Australian international and Queensland State of Origin representative centre turned five-eighth, he played his club football for the Gold Coast Seagulls, North Sydney Bears and Brisbane Broncos, with whom he won the 2000 premiership, before being forced into early retirement by injury. He was previously a commentator for the Nine Network.

Playing career[edit]

As a Gold Coast junior and promising centre and five-eighth, Ben Ikin became the youngest player in State of Origin history when he was chosen as a replacement back for the Maroons during the troubled 1995 season at age 18.

According to his 1995 Queensland Origin coach Paul Vautin, he did not actually know who Ikin was before the series. When Ikin first approached Vautin at the beginning of the Origin camp before the series, he actually thought the teenager was a fan seeking an autograph.[1]

Ikin's debut season ended prematurely when he was injured and he signed with the North Sydney Bears in 1996. Ikin made his debut for Norths in Round 1 1996 against his former club the Gold Coast scoring a try in a 42-26 victory. Ikin finished the 1996 season as North Sydney's top try scorer. Ikin played in the club's shock preliminary final loss to St. George.[2]

In the 1997 ARL season, Ikin made 22 appearances as Norths again reached another preliminary final but were defeated 17-12 at the Sydney Football Stadium by the Newcastle Knights. With less than five minutes to play, the scores were locked at 12-12 after Norths player Michael Buettner scored a try. Norths player Jason Taylor then had the chance at kicking the goal which would send Norths into their first grand final since 1943. Taylor who was a reliable goal kicker missed his conversion attempt. Newcastle then kicked a field goal through Matthew Johns and scored a try on the final siren to win the match.[3]

In the 1998 NRL season, Ikin made 25 appearances for Norths as they reached another finals campaign but were eliminated in the minor semi final against Canterbury 23-2 at North Sydney Oval. At the end of 1998, Ikin went someway toward fulfilling that potential when he was chosen as a reserve in the final two Tests against New Zealand in September, making him currently the last international to be selected from the North Sydney club.

He then tried to gain a release from his contract to play with premiers the Brisbane Broncos in 1999, but his request was refused. Reluctantly playing with Norths, he suffered a broken jaw in an off-field incident that kept him sidelined for eight weeks. Ikin played in North Sydney's final game in the top grade which was against North Queensland in Round 26 1999 at the Willows Sports Complex. Norths won the match 28-18.[4]

Ikin finally got the chance to link with Brisbane when Norths were forced into a joint venture with Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in 2000. He finished his first season with the Broncos playing five-eighth in the club's 2000 NRL grand final win over the Sydney Roosters.

It was later revealed that he played the latter part of the season with a shoulder injury that required surgery during the 2000 off-season. In 2000 Ikin was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for his contribution to Australia's international standing in the sport of rugby league.

Ikin also considered playing for Wales in the 2000 Rugby League World Cup due to his Welsh heritage through his grandfather[5]

A mainstay of the Queensland State of Origin team, a further knee injury limited Ikin to just 6 matches in 2001 and ruined any chance of extending his Test record. Ikin made a successful comeback from his injury, even returning to State of Origin duty, but he had lost a lot of his speed and decided to stand down from the Broncos' elite squad at the end of 2003. Playing for Broncos' feeder club Toowoomba, Ikin was recalled into the Brisbane team during the 2004 representative season and played in 11 games in the latter half of the year.

Ikin's last game in the NRL came in the 2004 elimination final against North Queensland which Brisbane lost 10-0 at the Willows Sports Complex.[6]

Post playing[edit]

Ben Ikin was a rugby league commentator for the Nine Network and regularly appeared on The Sunday Footy Show. On 3 June 2009, Ikin resigned from the Nine Network, due to A Current Affair running a story about his father's ill-fated storage business on the Gold Coast.[7]

Ikin is now host of NRL 360 on Fox Sports alongside journalist Paul Kent.

Personal life[edit]

Ikin is married to Beth (Elizabeth) Bennett, the daughter of Wayne Bennett, who had coached Ikin at both the Brisbane Broncos and in the Queensland State of Origin and Australian Test teams. However, since the public extra-marital affair of Wayne Bennett that precipitated the end of his 42-year marriage to wife Trish, both Ikin and his wife are now estranged from him.

Sean Ikin, Ben's middle brother, was a successful recording artist with Universal Records from 1999 to 2002. Sean recorded an independent album in London UK in 2005 called 'Gallery of Murmurs'.

Ikin's youngest brother, Anthony, is a five-time Australian aerobics champion, and was a top-twenty contestant in the first series of So You Think You Can Dance.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Colman, Mike (1996). Super League: The Inside Story. Sydney: Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Ltd. pp. 211–216 Tomorrow The World. ISBN 0 330 35863 4.
  2. ^ "Top 10 preliminary final heartbreaks". www.nrl.com.
  3. ^ "ARL 1997". Rugby League Project.
  4. ^ "NRL 1999". Rugby League Project.
  5. ^ https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/general/rugby-league/wales-lose-out-after-johns-opts-for-break-700433.html[dead link]
  6. ^ "North Queensland Cowboys end Brisbane Broncos' season". The Guardian.
  7. ^ Phil Rothfield & Marcus Casey. "Ben Ikin walks from Channel Nine". The Daily Telegraph. News Limited. Retrieved 14 November 2011.

Sources[edit]