Perhaps best known for his quick wittedness on Australia’s The Footy Show, former NRL star Beau Ryan’s natural humour and captivating comical abilities have seen him seamlessly transition from football great to popular television comedi in a move largely unparalleled by those before him.
At the mercy of an unrelenting neck injury, the 28 year old made the tough decision to retire earlier this year, admitting it was saddening to leave his teammates at the Cronulla sharks at a time when he should be at the height of his career.
Despite the somber departure, the move was made a little easier for Ryan who’s other important role as a family man and new dad to his adorable daughter Remi had to be put first, telling the NRL, “If something would have happened to me, I’d never forgive myself and my family comes first.”
Having hung the professional footy boots up so to speak, Beau will remain closely tied to the game and the culture of the sport with a permanent spot on The Footy Show panel. Walking off the field and almost immediately onto the set, Channel 9 CEO David Gyngell has called the player “The most diverse, interesting and funny footballer-come-entertainer”, he’d ever seen.
We spoke to the busy dad about his exit from the NRL, pleased to find that beneath the antics is a humble and generous person who gives back to the community in the most commendable ways.
Having been just over a month since you made the call to retire from the NRL, has it sunk in yet?
It is starting to kick in now. The first few weeks were a blue but now I am missing the ins and outs of being a professional rugby league athlete. I get more time with my family but I am very fortunate that I am still involved with the NRL and still have commitments at Cronulla.
Since the departure, we’ve seen you feature alongside Adam Goodes and Jimmy Bartel for campaigns with Witchery and Brando Shoes, are you enjoying the change of scenery?
Jimmy and Adam are great guys. I have worked with Jimmy on a few occasions and have a huge amount of respect for him. Goodesy is the Australian of The Year and there isn’t a person who doesn’t admire him. I enjoy ambassadorial roles especially when it’s for quality people from quality companies. As for the shoes, they are the most stylish shoes I have worn. I have a shoe fetish and my Brando shoes are now my clear cut favourites. The shoes are quite comfortable which makes it easy for me as I’m in them about ten hours a week!
So with that said, the boys on the Footy Show would surely be taking fashion tips from you in no time?
As I’m the only guy in the panel under 40 I try and be the trend setter of the crew. The guys I work with think my style is a bit different but I am just keeping up with the trends. I enjoy dressing up and I get to wear a suit a couple of times a week which makes me happy.
Over the course of your career you’ve formed a reputation as one of NRL’s biggest off-field talents. Since being on the Footy Show, how do team mates and rival players react when they feature in one of your parodies?
Rival players have been great. I’m very fortunate that most players enjoy what I do, it’s usually light hearted and I just attempt to make people smile usually only at my own expense. My team mates are probably sick of my jokes but that just means I need to mix up my material.
It seems no one is off limits, even some well known Australian politicians..
No one has taken offence as yet, though I have never spoken to Kevin Rudd about it, but if he had a problem I would have to turn my attention to Tony Abbott. Only to make it fair.
Now that the demands of footy are no longer, how will your home/family life change? We love following your posts with super cute daughter Remi who must be very happy to have even more time with her footy-star dad.
I love my girls. We enjoy spending every morning together. Remi makes us so happy and she just makes us smile. It is great to wake up with them and be at home more often because like they say ‘happy wife, happy life!’
As one of the biggest names in footy, we’ve enjoyed watching you go from strength-to-strength and play the game with your heart. In hindsight, what is a moment in your career you’re most proud of?
I loved the semi finals series last year for the Sharks. We had our backs against the wall and really had the right squad which worked extremely hard and got some good results. That made me proud to be a part of. But my debut in 2007 for the tigers against the raiders down in Canberra was special with all my family there. I worked extremely hard to get there and it was such a great reward to play and a really, really proud moment to have my family there
Using your public platform wisely, we often see you involved in charity work and giving back to the community. Tell us about the Rise for Alex fund you’ve recently been involved with?
The Rise For Alex fund is there to raise much needed funds for ex footballer Alex McKinnon and his family. He is a great guy. People can go to the NRL and Newcastle Knights home page and donate. The money will go towards giving Alex a proper rehabilitation. It will also go towards renovations on his house to make it wheelchair accessible and a vehicle for him. It is a great cause and I am so proud to be a part of the NRL initiative on raising money for Alex and his family.
He’s one of the most decorated football players in the AFL with a succession of achievements to his name and a fan base to rival others in his league. Over 250 games into his career, the popular forward for the Geelong Cats has unquestionably earned his stripes and carved himself an honourable reputation in the sport.
Of course we’re talking about none other than football great Jimmy Bartel, whose long list of achievements with the Cats includes three premiership wins and a well deserved Brownlow Medal. Despite his elite status, Bartel remains one of the most humble and down to earth players in the game.
If his skills on the field were not impressive enough, Bartel somehow finds time to write for The Age and study as business student, proving there is more to the man than just a great footballer.
The marketable star has this year secured deals with Brando Shoes and well known clothing label Witchery, snapped up to feature in both of their latest campaigns. Alongside Australian of the Year Adam Goodes and retired footballer Beau Ryan, the new campaign for Brando is gaining much attention for the trio who suit up together for the shoot.
We were lucky enough to chat with the star player this month- talking football, fashion and how he manages to balance out his busy lifestyle.
What a year it has been for you- going from strength to strength with the Geelong Cats, marrying the gorgeous Nadia Bartel and even adding style ambassador to your long list of accolades. How have you managed to stay balanced and keep your family life a central focus?
That is exactly it, its all about balance and making sure that the most important thing is to find time for each other and fitting other things around that. It is important to be organised, which admittedly I’m not great at, but I am trying to get better….
You featured alongside Adam Goodes and Beau Ryan in a recent campaign with Brando Shoes, swapping the footy boots to model their Italian dress shoes – the three of you scrub up alright! How was it working with these two on the campaign?
It is always great fun spending time with these two great guys. Not only are they incredibly talented but they are even better blokes. We all agree there aren’t as many ways for a man to express himself compared to his much better looking other half, however a quality pair of shoes can make your simple suit look a lot classier.
Have you developed a personal style over the years?
I think I have to a degree. Being from Geelong where it gets very cold in winter, I tend to layer up a fair bit. Clothing pieces that can be worn to and from training then out to dinner is the look I’m after.
Having been a part of the AFL family for most of your life you’re no stranger to the limelight. Are you as confident on a photo shoot as you are on the field?
Certainly not, although it is fun especially alongside Beau and Adam. The modelling thing is something completely out of my comfort zone.
Your fashion blogger slash style guru wife Nadia is renowned for her trendsetting ways and incredibly stylish ensembles which, we’ll face it, we’re frequently in awe over. Is Nadia responsible for coordinating your red carpet looks?
I’m smart enough to know that I am complete novice compared to her. So yes I ask or more like get told (haha), what looks good. However she knows better than anyone else what I am comfortable wearing and what I don’t like.
With a huge fan following, you’ve been a top contender and a force to be reckoned with in the AFL for many years, securing yourself a well deserved Brownlow medal back in 07’. Is that honour still as special today?
To be honest and I say this with no disrespect and I’m completely humbled by winning the Brownlow but it still sits in second place behind the premiership medals I have won.
Your impressive career with the Cats spans more than a decade; what are some of the highlights for you in this time?
It’s all about team success. Winning and winning premierships is all any AFL footballer wants to do and I have been very fortunate to be a part of the Geelong Football Club that has three in recent times.
Being in the public eye, young fans look up to sportsmen like yourself for motivation and inspiration. How important is it for you to set a good example to these aspiring eyes?
I think athletes like all other professionals should set good examples and behaviours; it’s part of being a good person. Then let the young people decide for themselves if they identify with you and see you as a role model. I remember as kid only wanting to be like Paul Kelly the former Sydney Swans champion, and I didn’t want to be anyone else..
As an avid promoter and leading example for an active lifestyle. What advice can you give to people starting out on the healthy lifestyle bandwagon?
I think it’s always about variety and comfort in numbers. Trying to commit to one type of exercise by yourself is hard. Grab a mate, try a new sport, change up where you go for a run, join a club, and get outside. You meet some great people through sport.
Sports Modern Men Jimmy Bartel and Beau Ryan