Kite still flying after long year - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kite still flying after long year

12/11/2008 12:26:21 AM Comments (0)

Australian forward Brent Kite has played more games than almost every other NRL player this year and yet he couldn't feel better.

The Manly prop is enjoying his finest season to date and he believes it is all due to being controversially overlooked for the NSW State of Origin team.

Missing NSW's third straight series loss meant Kite didn't return to club football tired and emotionally drained.

Instead he didn't miss any of the Sea Eagles' games, culminating in a Clive Churchill medal in the grand final, and played every Test for Australia.

In total the 27-year-old warhorse has played 33 games in 2008 - 27 NRL games for Manly, two trial matches, the Centenary Test and three World Cup games.

The only player to have pulled on a jumper more in 2008 is teenage centre Israel Folau, whose 35 games include four Tests, three Origins, 25 NRL games for Melbourne plus two trials and the World Club Challenge.

Although it can be argued Kite does infinitely tougher and harder work than the flying outside back.

"I didn't have that Origin campaign under my belt so I'm feeling better for it," said Kite.

"Going through that Origin period takes a bit out of you and fortunately this year I didn't need the layoff towards the end of the year.

"I can imagine the guys that had the Origin and the finals are probably doing it a little bit tougher but I'm okay.

"Physically I'm feeling okay, but mentally it's tough when everyone is planning holidays and been on holidays.

"Even guys at the club are going back for preseason and I'm still getting my head around playing.

"I think with the World Club Challenge the rest of the squad are probably going back a week or so earlier than usual.

"In saying that everyone would rather be playing than doing the preseason so there is a bit of incentive there."

Kite has become somewhat of an ironman in his seven-year career with 28 games in 2007 and 30 in 2006 that included a Tri Nations campaign.

He's averaged 26 games a year since debuting for St George Illawarra in 2002 and sets the standard with a high work rate.

The only forward that could match Kite's record is fellow Australian prop Petero Civoniceva who has averaged 29 games per year over the past five seasons.

Australian coach Ricky Stuart opted to rest Civoniceva and Steve Price from the Kangaroos mauling of Papua New Guinea last week while Kite and fellow grand final winner Josh Perry were forced to play in the hot conditions.

But it was decision based on age and not workloads.

"I knew (a rest) wasn't forthcoming," said Kite.

"My first day in camp I had a look around and there was only four sort of specialist front rowers.

"Only the elder statesmen managed to get a rest."

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