Braith Anasta is a former rugby league player who has represented NSW and Australia and won a premiership with the Bulldogs in 2004. The 35-year-old chats to me about his new job as a sports commentator, how things are going with new girlfriend Rachael Lee following his split last year from Jodi Anasta (nee Gordon), and how he balances his busy schedule with his three-year-old daughter, Aleeia.
What’s a typical day for you?
In the off-season, a typical day is spent with Aleeia … I spend a lot of time with her, whether it’s going to the beach, the park … During the rugby season my weekend is consumed still with rugby league … either calling games or we’ve got a 24-hour channel this year at Fox … I’ve [also] got a show with Tara Rushton, which is called League 13-to-1.
Did you always envisage that you would go into commentating after footy?
I did … I thought I had the potential and I enjoyed the media because I’ve had so much to do with the media … I had to do a lot of interviews when I was coming through the grades, so I got comfortable in front of the camera and then I really enjoyed it.
What do you love most about commentating?
I love the challenge, the excitement of live TV – you need to get it right. I enjoy it a lot because it’s a job where you can improve a hell of a lot, and also I’d love to host one day.
What’s the secret of being a good commentator?
Well, it’s a bit premature for me to say it because I’m only early days but, I think, it’s honesty … Tell it how it is without obviously being too harsh … [The audience] see straight through you if you’re being biased … Even if it’s one of your best mates who plays and he does the wrong thing, you’ve got to be critical of him.
Have you ever upset anyone by your commentary?
I wouldn’t know, they haven’t told me! [Laughs] … We’re all young, we all play – I mean I’ve had some good games and some horrible games. The older you get, you understand that it’s part and part of the business you’re in. You’re going to be judged and you can’t really do anything about it.
Who do you look up to in the commentating arena?
Growing up, I loved Gus [Phil Gould]. A lot of people have different opinions about Gus, but I actually think he is a great judge of the game. It’s unbelievable. Peter Sterling as well. I think he is so smart, got a lot of class the way he handles it all too … And Greg Alexander… he is fantastic and probably along the lines of where I would like to head down that track.
How is life after footy? Do you miss playing?
I actually don’t. I know that sounds unusual, but I don’t because of the job I’ve got at Fox Sports … because I’ve made that move into a job that I’m still very much involved with the game. I still get a kick out of all I do … I think I was ready to retire.
So you don’t ever plan to come out of retirement?
No way in the world [laughs]!
How do you juggle your work commitments with Aleeia?
It has been a bit of a challenge with the 50-50 [share]. The relationship [with Jodi] is all smooth, which has made it, I suppose, easier. But I have [Aleeia] a lot, which is unbelievable. I’m a lucky dad because a lot of dads in that situation miss out.
Living in separate cities, how do you make co-parenting work?
Yeah it’s good … Jodi is very busy. She is in Melbourne a lot with Neighbours. So we’ve been making sure when she is back in Sydney, she is with Aleeia as much as she can be.
Can you share anything about your new girlfriend Rachael Lee?
I’m happy to but I don’t want to talk too much about it because I like to be as private as I can be.
How is the relationship going?
It’s fantastic… It really is. It couldn’t be better, really … We’re really happy and life is good.
What do you do in your time off, when you’re not working?
Aleeia – it’s pretty much the answer! I was coaching in my spare time last year. But because Fox is so busy …I can’t do the coaching any more, which I’m disappointed about. I still want to be able to coach if I can down the track, depending on how everything goes with the commentating.
In your footy career what was your biggest career highlight?
Definitely winning the Premiership, 2004, with the Bulldogs, you can’t replace that no matter how many amazing times you have throughout your career, that’s the pinnacle. You can’t beat it. The Roosters, being captain; and one game, where I kicked a field goal in the semi-final. That doesn’t sound like much, but at the time it was.
What NRL team do you support?
It’s funny, that. To be honest, I love the Roosters and Bulldogs and I always will. I’ve got a soft spot for both. I was coaching at the Roosters, last couple of years. So I find myself still involved in the club.
What would you be doing if you never went down the career path of football?
Well, I wanted to be a fireman … Apart from that, my dad was a panel beater, so I could have been a panel beater, and we owned a restaurant, so I could have been working in a restaurant. So I think I picked the right avenue!
WE WENT TO Bistro Moncur, Mosman
WE ATE Pan Fried Barramundi Fillet, Mashed Peas, Creme Fraiche & Confit Spring Onion, Sunflower Seed & Caper Beurre Noisette; Vine Ripened Tomato Salad
WE DRANK Mineral Water
BRAITH WORE Messini suit and shirt.