Sam Thaiday

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Sam Thaiday
Sam Thaiday Brisbane.jpg
Personal information
Full nameSamuel Arthur Thaiday
Born (1985-06-12) 12 June 1985 (age 34)
Sydney, Australia
Playing information
Height181 cm (5 ft 11 in)
Weight112 kg (17 st 9 lb)
PositionSecond-row, Prop, Lock, Hooker
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2003–18 Brisbane Broncos 308 40 1 0 162
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2006–17 Queensland 29 3 0 0 12
2006–17 Australia 32 2 0 0 8
2007–13 Prime Minister's XIII 2 0 0 0 0
2010–16 Indigenous All Stars 3 0 0 0 0
Source: [1]

Samuel Arthur Thaiday (/θd/; born 12 June 1985) is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer who played for the Brisbane Broncos in the National Rugby League, serving as their captain from 2012 until 2013. An Australian international and Queensland State of Origin representative second-row, he can also play prop and lock as well as Hooker and has spent all of his career at the Broncos, with whom he won the 2006 premiership. In 2008, Australia's centenary of rugby league and Thaiday's sixth year at the top level, he was one of only three current players to be named in the Indigenous Australian rugby league team of the century.[3] On 6 July 2018, Thaiday announced his intention to retire from the NRL at the end of the 2018 season.[4]


Thaiday was born in Sydney, New South Wales[5] and moved to Townsville, Queensland at the age of four years.[6] He is of Torres Strait Islander descent. He played junior rugby league for the Brothers club in Townsville as well as attending Kirwan State High School. His cousin Milton Thaiday also became an NRL footballer.[7]

Sam Thaiday in action against the Knights
Thaiday playing for the Broncos in 2009

Playing career[edit]


Thaiday was signed in 2002 by the Brisbane Broncos after coach Wayne Bennett watched him brawl with Sonny Bill Williams and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs in an under-17s interstate game.[8] On 11 July 2003, aged 18, he made his National Rugby League debut for the Broncos against the Bulldogs in round 18 of the 2003 NRL season.

Solid form in the first 10 weeks of the Broncos season earned Thaiday a spot on the Queensland bench for game one of the 2006 State of Origin series. He was also selected on the bench for the following two games for the Maroons, who went on to win the series. After that, when the Broncos were in the "slump that wasn't a slump", coach Wayne Bennett moved Thaiday from the bench to the starting side.[citation needed] This, among other changes, saw the Broncos' season turn around, and they ended up winning the 2006 NRL Grand Final. Thaiday was selected for his international debut for the Australian national team in Game 2 of the 2006 Tri-Nations against New Zealand after concussion ruled Willie Mason out. As 2006 NRL Premiers, the Brisbane Broncos travelled to England to face 2006 Super League champions, St Helens R.F.C. in the 2007 World Club Challenge. Thaiday played from the interchange bench in the Broncos' 14-18 loss. In the 2007 NRL season Thaiday suffered an injury to the bone around his eye socket and missed all three games of the 2007 State of Origin series for the Queensland Maroons while waiting to recover. He made his 50th first grade appearance in the NRL in 2007 and re-signed with the Broncos until the end of 2009.

In the 2008 NRL season Thaiday was back in form and started the year with a bang, winning back to back man of the match awards in rounds eight and nine to earn himself a starting spot in the 2008 State of Origin series. He was named in the Australia training squad for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup.[9]

In April 2009, Thaiday was named in the 25-man Queensland squad before the opening match of the 2009 State of Origin series.[10] He was named man of the match in the second game of the series. At the end of that season Thaiday played for Australia in their successful 2009 Four Nations campaign in Europe.


For the 2010 ANZAC Test, Thaiday was selected to play for Australia at second-row forward and was named man of the match in their victory against New Zealand. During his career Sam Thaiday has often seen himself under attack for the way in which he plays the game, most notably his tendency to enter brawls and scuffles late to "protect" his teammates. Loved by Brisbane and Queensland fans for his role as an 'enforcer', he's also vilified by opposition fans for what they claim as cheap shots, bullying and his consistency as the "Third man in".[11] In the 2010 State of Origin series Thaiday was much maligned by NSW Blues fans for the way in which he played the game. In Game 2 Luke O'Donnell was a guilty party in a dangerous tackle that sparked an all-in brawl on YouTube, the likes of which hadn't been seen for several years. Most notable was a moment towards the end of the melee in which O'Donnell could be seen to headbutt and then uppercut Queensland's Dave Taylor, upon seeing this Sam Thaiday re-entered the fray and punched O'Donnell twice. Speaking on his involvement Thaiday said, "I saw the headbutt and I made a bee-line straight over to it. That's just not football; fair is fair if you want to punch on with a bloke I'm all for that. But headbutting - that's a bit below the belt".[12] But the New South Welshman saw things differently, "I keep getting asked about the headbutt - I don't think there was much in that," O'Donnell said. "I was getting pulled and pushed in every direction, and Taylor kept scruffing me up. I was doing whatever I could to get out of there. Sam Thaiday ran in and started throwing punches. There were a few dog shots coming in. Someone said I should've been sent off. That's a bit rich considering they were coming in and hitting from behind with some cheap shots. I've got a bruised eye from a nice cheapy from someone when I was on the ground. Self-preservation crosses your mind at some stage."[13] Regardless, Thaiday said he felt comfortable with his role in taking on O'Donnell after coming to Taylor's aid. "I look after my mates. I'm a big family man, I look after my family and all these boys are my family," he said. In a 2010 NRL game, between the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys, Sam again came under criticism, again for entering a fight as the "Third-man-in" (though technically he was fourth). The NRL match review committee chairman Greg McCallum issued Thaiday a warning for his repeat infringements and threatened him with a ban.[14] McCallum said that Thaiday was treading a fine line rushing in to "protect" teammates he felt had been aggrieved. Broncos fans and teammates took a different view, "Sam's there to protect his players whether he's playing for us, his state or his country," Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough said of the incident.

In 2011 it was announced that Thaiday would be the Broncos' captain for the following season, taking over from the retiring Darren Lockyer despite the return to the club of former Broncos favourite Petero Civoniceva. After the 2011 NRL season, Thaiday travelled with the Australian national team to Britain for the 2011 Four Nations tournament. On 3 November 2011 The annual RLIF Awards dinner was held at the Tower of London and Thaiday was named second-row forward of the year.[15]

Thaiday played for Australia in their victory in the 2012 ANZAC Test against New Zealand. He also played in Game I of the 2012 State of Origin series but had to pull out of Game II with a shoulder injury.

Thaiday was selected for Australia in the 2013 ANZAC Test and played at second-row forward. In what was the first test match ever played in Canberra, New Zealand were defeated. Thaiday played at second row forward in all three games, and scored a try in the 2nd game, of the 2013 State of Origin series in which Queensland extended their record for consecutive series victories to eight.

In 2015, Thaiday played in Brisbane's grand final defeat against North Queensland.[16] In 2016, Thaiday was selected to play for Queensland in the 2016 state of origin series. After Queensland emerged victorious in game 1 of the series, Thaiday was interviewed post match by Brad Fittler. Fittler had asked how it felt defeating New South Wales after a tough match. Thaiday told Fittler "It was a bit like losing your virginity, it wasn't very nice but we got the job done".[17]


On 6 July 2018, Thaiday announced his retirement from rugby league in bizarre circumstances. Thaiday dressed as an elderly man and had called a press conference outside a Brisbane retirement home to confirm he would draw the curtain on his 16 season career. Thaiday explained why he had dressed in such a way saying “I’ve always been a bit different in everything I’ve done but I’ve always been true to myself and done things my way”.[18]

A week after his announcement, after the Broncos played the Warriors at Suncorp Stadium, the Warriors offered Thaiday a farewell with the team, wishing him the best for the future. “We did the same thing with (Johnathan Thurston) a couple of weeks ago … we think it’s important the people that have been a big part of the game and achieved everything, it’s important for our group to show some respect for them,” Blake Green said.[19]

Thaiday's final game in The NRL was the 48-18 elimination final loss to St George at Suncorp Stadium.[20]

Career Stats[edit]

Season Team Appearances Tries Goals Goal-kicking Percentage Field Goals Points
2003 NRL Season Brisbane Broncos 1 - - - - -
2004 NRL Season Brisbane Broncos 8 - - - - -
2005 NRL Season Brisbane Broncos 14 1 - - - 4
2006 NRL Season Brisbane Broncos 20 2 - - - 8
2007 NRL Season Brisbane Broncos 16 1 1/2 50% - 6
2008 NRL Season Brisbane Broncos 22 8 - - - 32
2009 NRL Season Brisbane Broncos 23 3 - - - 12
2010 NRL Season Brisbane Broncos 22 2 - - - 8
2011 NRL Season Brisbane Broncos 21 3 - - - 12
2012 NRL Season Brisbane Broncos 21 4 - - - 16
2013 NRL Season Brisbane Broncos 21 2 - - - 8
2014 NRL Season Brisbane Broncos 19 4 - - - 16
2015 NRL Season Brisbane Broncos 23 2 - - - 8
2016 NRL Season Brisbane Broncos 22 4 - - - 16
2017 NRL Season Brisbane Broncos 26 3 - - - 12
2018 NRL Season Brisbane Broncos 25 1 - - - 4


Dally M Second Rower Of The Year: 2010, 2011

Ron McAuliffe Medal: 2010

Ken Stephen Memorial Award: 2011

RLIF Second Rower Of The Year: 2011



  1. ^
  2. ^ Nicolussi, Christian (6 September 2011). "Slammin' Sam is the man again - taking out Dally M second rower award". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
  3. ^ Modern stars join greats in Indigenous Team of Century ABC News 9 August 2008
  4. ^ "League: Sam Thaiday announces retirement from rugby league in bizarre fashion". The New Zealand Herald. 6 July 2018. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  5. ^ Ritchie, Dean (6 April 2011). "Not being from Queensland no bar to Cane Toad State of Origin selection". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  6. ^ Brisbane Broncos captain Sam Thaiday supports the increase of Kiwi players to State of Origin. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  7. ^ Walter, Brad (8 May 2003). "Teenage Dragon gets his big chance, and some advice from Albert the great". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australia: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  8. ^ PETER BADEL (2 October 2015). "NRL Grand Final 2015: Broncos' Sam Thaiday reveals how he nearly joined North Queensland". THE COURIER-MAIL. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  9. ^ "Veteran Lockyer named in Australian squad". International Herald Tribune. 1 August 2008. Retrieved 2 August 2008.
  10. ^ "Queensland name preliminary State of Origin squad". Fox Sports. 28 April 2009. Archived from the original on 28 May 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2009.
  11. ^ "Third man Thaiday". The Daily Telegraph (Sydney).
  12. ^ "O'Donnell had to walk for spear stupidity, says angry Thaiday". The Age.
  13. ^ "Luke O'Donnell lays blame on Maroons". The Daily Telegraph (Sydney).
  14. ^ "Brisbane's Sam Thaiday warned by NRL over 'third man in' activities". Fox Sports.
  15. ^ "Slater scoops player award". Sky Sports. 3 November 2011. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Warriors farewell Sam Thaiday retiring video, NRL Warriors v Broncos". Fox Sports. 17 July 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Sam Thaiday - Career Stats & Summary - Rugby League Project". Retrieved 26 May 2019.

External links[edit]