Image: NRL.com

We caught up with Parramatta, NSW and Kangaroos legend Brett Kenny.

'Bert' featured in five Grand Final appearances for the Eels in the 1980s and played a crucial role in all four of the club's premierships in 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1986 alongside Peter Sterling in the halves.

The versatile five-eighth played 265 games for Parramatta, scoring 110 tries from 1980-1993. From 1982-1987, Kenny also played 17 games for NSW and 20 for Australia.

ZT: You spent your entire career at the Eels, achieved virtually everything there was to achieve in the sport. If you had to pick one moment in your rugby league career to relive again, what would you choose?

BK: The 1981 Grand Final against Newtown - (it was) my first grand final and we won it.

ZT: Your remarkable feat of three consecutive doubles in grand finals is still a thing of greatness to this day. And of course, you almost produced a double in the 1986 decider too. On an individual level, what do you rate as your best performance out of all your GF wins?

BK: Probably 1982 vs Manly, I had a hand in some of the tries and scored 2 myself.

ZT: The latter period of your career (87-93) was difficult with the club failing to make the finals in each season. What went wrong following the 1986 triumph? Was this especially hard on you being one of the most influential and experienced players left in the team?

BK: The retirement of Mick Cronin and Ray Price was a huge loss for the club. But i also believe we relied too much and put too much pressure on younger players who weren't ready for first grade. We needed to buy some experienced players to give the younger guys more time but didn't do that. I didn't find it too hard although it was frustrating at times.

ZT: Played majority of your games as five-eighth but you also played 79 games in the centres and 21 games at lock. How did you adapt to playing in those positions which had less reliance on play-making? Did your workload feel more relaxed or did you feel like your creativity was restricted?

BK: I was graded as a centre when I came to Parramatta. I played majority of my junior football in the centres and playing alongside Mick Cronin made it easy. Playing lock was a  decision by then coach Mick Cronin who wanted me closer to the action because of the lack of experience with the team. I don't think my creativity was restricted by playing any of these positions.

ZT: How often do you still catch up with your premiership-winning teammates?

BK: We catch up at least once a year. We have a reunion organised by Peter Wynn and that's on the Gold Coast. Other times you might see someone at various League functions.

ZT: After you retired in 1993, how did you find the transition from playing to retirement? What have you been up to since?

BK First 12 months was hardest getting home from work on what was normally training night and not knowing what to do with myself as i was used to getting ready to go to Parra Stadium to train. I did some coaching at Penrith winning the Jersey Flegg comp in 2006 and coached Parra reserve grade in 2010 getting to finals. Apart from that just working and doing occasional guest speaking.

ZT: Back in 2017 you had  that cancer scare. How is your health looking at the moment?

BK: My health is fine at the moment. Everything looking positive. It was a bit frightening at first but I have been looked after by a good specialist. So as I said, everything positive.

ZT: Your beloved Eels are on the rise these days. What involvement do you still have with the club?

BK: I don't have a lot of involvement with the club. However I've been asked to some functions and also to be part of a Legends group going to Darwin with the club sponsors. I would love to be a permanent part of the club though.

ZT: Thanks heaps for the chat Brett and all the best with everything!

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