Rugby league legend Mal Meninga, and his wife Amanda, welcomed their son Elijah Henry Brooklyn on February 14. Mal has two adult children from his first marriage, while Amanda has a son from a previous relationship. Mal played for Souths Magpies in the Brisbane Rugby League, then for the Canberra Raiders in the National Rugby League, where, as captain, he led them to three Grand Final victories. He was also captain of the Australian squad and of the Queensland State of Origin team. After retiring as a player, he coached the Canberra Raiders, then the Queensland Maroons in State of Origin, taking them to eight consecutive wins. He has received the Order of Australia for services to rugby league, and been inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, and the Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame. The main grandstand at Canberra Stadium is named in his honour.
Newcastle Knights NRL player Jeremy Smith, and his wife Jody, welcomed their daughter Cali in late September [pictured]; Cali arrived on the night of the Knight’s semi-final against Melbourne – one of the biggest upset wins of the season. Cali was born 12 weeks premature, and the Smiths hope to have her home from hospital by Christmas. Jeremy withdrew from the Rugby League World Cup in order to take care of his family while Jody was in hospital. Cali Smith joins older siblings Marly, aged 8, Evie, aged 2, and Jeremy Junior “JJ“, aged 1 – JJ’s birth was announced on the blog last year.
St. Illawarra NRL player Kyle Stanley, and his fiancee Niketa Patterson, welcomed their son Koah last year. Kyle belongs to a famous family which has produced many rugby union and rugby league players. He spent all of the 2013 season in rehabilitation after a knee injury, but is ready to play in 2014. The name Koah was chosen by Niketa for its Hawaiian meaning of “brave”.
Rugby union player Sekope Kepu, who plays for the national Wallabies team, and his wife Anna, welcomed their son Isaiah in March. Isaiah Kepu is brother to Faith-Rose, aged 4, Israel, aged 1, and Wesley, who was stillborn in 2011.