John Skandalis

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John Skandalis
John Skandalis (23 April 2005).jpg
Skandalis in 2005
Personal information
Born (1976-06-16) 16 June 1976 (age 42)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Playing information
Height190 cm (6 ft 3 in)
Weight113 kg (17 st 11 lb)
PositionProp
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1996–99 Wests Magpies 64 3 0 0 12
2000–06 Wests Tigers 166 15 0 0 60
2007–08 Huddersfield Giants 46 5 0 0 20
2009–10 Wests Tigers 19 1 0 0 4
Total 295 24 0 0 96
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2002–06 City Origin 4 1 0 0 0
Source: [1][2][3]

John Skandalis (born 16 June 1976) is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1990s and 2000s for the Wests Tigers in the NRL. He played previously for the Western Suburbs Magpies and Huddersfield Giants. Skandalis primarily played as a prop forward.

Background[edit]

Skandalis was born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

The Skandalis family home in Lightning Ridge burnt down when John was six, causing the family to move to Ashfield, and later Minto.[4] 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."[5]

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.[6] His first grade début came in round 9 of the 1996 season against the Penrith Panthers on 17 May, he made 10 appearances that season, including the Magpies last ever finals appearance against Cronulla on 6 September.

A regular in the starting team in 1997, Skandalis scored 3 tries from his 20 appearances, he scored his first in the 24 May match against the Gold Coast Titans, as they won 26-10. With the decline of the Magpies, Skandalis played in 34 games in the next 2 seasons, with only 5 being victories.

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.[7]

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.[8] 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 the 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.[9]

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,[10] he remained in the first grade team for the rest of the season. 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.[11] 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,[12] coach Tim Sheens saying, "I can't get rid of the guy."[13] 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.[7] The inaugural "Philips Sports Dad of the Year" was awarded to Skandalis in late 2009, narrowly defeating Brett Kimmorley,[14] he donated the money to the Starlight Children's Foundation. Skandalis has been made a life member of the Western Suburbs club.[15]

Skandalis' Greek heritage made him eligible to represent Greece, which he did as captain,[16] he played for Greece in the 2009 Australian Mediterranean Shield.[17] Greece won the final 34-14 against Italy.[18]

Post-playing career[edit]

Having spent 2 years with the Wests Tigers' NYC team, in 2012 Skandalis became the club's head conditioner,[19] he was removed from the position with the arrival of new coach Jason Taylor in 2014,[20] but remained in the club in other roles. In 2017, he became an assistant to the Wests Magpies ISP coach, former teammate Brett Hodgson.[21]

Skandalis has been involved in the Macquarie Fields Finding Jobs, Changing Lives program, helping troubled youth from the Macquarie Fields area,[5] he was made an NRL ambassador in 2017.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ League Central
  2. ^ NRL Stats
  3. ^ RLP
  4. ^ Daniel Lane (2009). Forever Brothers. Lane Cove, New South Wales: Dolphin Press. pp. 154–155. ISBN 978-0-9803578-5-1.
  5. ^ a b "Once a rebel, Skando finds cause close to his heart". Sydney Morning Herald. 2 November 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009.
  6. ^ "Remembering Minto". Archived from the original on 18 February 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  7. ^ a b David Middleton (editor) (2010). "2010 Official Rugby League Annual". Alexandria NSW, 2015: News Magazines for the National Rugby League: 181.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Middleton, David (Editor); 2009 Official Rugby League Annual; published 2010 for the National Rugby League by News Magazines, Alexandria NSW, 2015
  9. ^ Giants' Skando to go http://www.examiner.co.uk/huddersfield-giants/huddersfield-giants-news/2008/07/24/giants-skando-to-go-86081-21395497
  10. ^ Steve Jancetic (19 May 2009). "John Skandalis answers Tigers' SOS". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 May 2009.
  11. ^ Adrian Proszenko (22 November 2009). "Skandalis retires … for good, this time". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 November 2009.
  12. ^ "Broncos back to full strength". ABC Grandstand Sport. 13 July 2010. Retrieved 23 July 2010.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Phil Rothfield and Rebecca Wilson (6 September 2009). "Skando top of the pops". Daily Telegraph (Australia). Retrieved 22 September 2009.
  15. ^ "2009 Pratten Park Reunion". Noel Kelly's Kids. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
  16. ^ http://www.rleague.com/db/article.php?id=26728[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "Making league a world game". Cumberland Courier. 6 October 2009. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  18. ^ "Australian Mediterranean Shield GREECE vs. ITALY". Canterbury-Bankstown Express. 19 October 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
  19. ^ David Beniuk (19 November 2011). "NRL pre-season gets tough for Tigers". Roar. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  20. ^ David Riccio. "Wests Tigers' incredible staff turnover one of the main reasons for the club's lack of success". Daily Telegraph.
  21. ^ "Coach and CEO Q&A - Christmas Edition". Wests Tigers. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  22. ^ "2017 NRL Ambassadors announced". nrl.com.

External links[edit]