15 August 2023

Region Riverina vs Gundagai veteran and Kangaroos playmaker James Smart

| Glenn Pallister
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Wagga Kangaroo James Smart takes flight against Young. Photo: Supplied.

In 2022, Gundagai Tigers legend James Smart made the move to Wagga to become captain-coach of the Kangaroos.

Now in his 30s, ”Smarty” has had a horrid injury run through his career, and at the end of last season, under the belief the club needed a captain-coach who could give it his all, he stepped back into a playing-only role with the Roos.

A talented playmaker who has spent time in the Raiders’ NRL system, Smart will be vital to the Roos’ finals success this season, bringing on and off-field experience into the squad. Heavily involved in the game, he’s also the Bidgee region manager for NSW Rugby League.

READ ALSO Riverina athlete wins silver at Youth Commonwealth Games

Where are you from and where did you play your first footy?
I grew up in Gundagai and played my first game there when I was seven.

Best footy memory?
Spending three months playing in America. It was a great experience!

Favourite player as a kid and why?
Brad Fittler. His leadership was just the best.

Favourite childhood meal you can remember?
Spaghetti bolognese.

rugby league player

Gundagai veteran James Smart made the move to the Kangaroos in 2022. Photo: Supplied.

Favourite ground to play on and why?
Anzac Park (Gundagai). I spent a lot of time there growing up. It’s home.

Why should young kids take up rugby league?
It’s the best game there is!

Do you have a celebrity lookalike?
None that I agree with. Haha!

What annoys you?

READ ALSO Wagga’s team of veterans advocates set for City2Surf

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Do it your way.

On a car trip from the Riverina to Sydney, who would you NOT want in the passenger seat?
Journalist Phil “Buzz” Rothfield.

Any person (dead or alive) you WOULD want in the passenger seat?
Damian Willis (former Gundagai teammate) so he can sing Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire the entire way.

Down to your last $20 – what would you spend it on?
Something for Luca (James and his lovely partner Alex welcomed their first child, Luca, into the world in the past 12 months).

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