Bradman Best had to win over girlfriend's dad Jeff Fenech - so what's a State of Origin decider

The NSW centre is dating the daughter of the Aussie boxing legend.

If Bradman Best can overcome the reservations of one of the scariest men in Australia, what's taking on some fired-up Queenslanders in a State of Origin decider at Suncorp Stadium? Best will play centre for NSW next Wednesday night in Brisbane, hoping to help the Blues win their first Origin series since 2021.

The Newcastle centre made his Origin debut in Game 3 last year, starring in the Blues' victory with two tries. But that was a dead-rubber on home soil - nothing compared to the pressure cooker environment of a live decider at Suncorp.

But considering who the father or Best's girlfriend is - and his initial reservations about his daughter dating an NRL player - the 22-year-old is surely prepared for anything. Best is dating Kayla Fenech - the daughter or Aussie boxing legend Jeff Fenech.

Bradman Best, pictured here alongside Jeff Fenech and his daughter Kayla.
Bradman Best is dating Jeff Fenech's daughter Kayla. Image: Getty/Instagram

Jeff is one of the scariest men in Australia, and you certainly wouldn't want to get on his bad side if you were dating his daughter. The 60-year-old told the Daily Telegraph over the weekend that he was fuming when Kayla first told him she was dating an NRL player.

“I’d always warned my girls about going out with league players,” he said. “I’ve been knocking around with footballers all my life. They’re young and they love going out and having a good time."

Jeff Fenech, pictured here in action in the boxing ring against Tialano Tovar in 1995.
Jeff Fenech in action against Tialano Tovar in 1995. Image: Getty

But Jeff admitted he has since warmed to Best. “When she rang and told me, I went off the deep end," he said. "I gave her a roasting. She kept trying to say ‘Dad, he’s a lovely guy’. Kayla was telling me every day how nice he was. Bradman knew I was angry, but he told Kayla ‘I’ll prove your dad wrong’ and he has.”

Best is planning to move in with Kayla, 28, now that he's won over her dad. “I said to dad at the beginning that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Footy players can get a bad reputation. Bradman is so different," she said.

“Dad now loves him. He’s a good person, very down to earth, and treats me really well. Just an all-round good person with a big heart. He’s actually perfect.”


Best's selection for NSW was thrown into chaos on Monday when it emerged he'd been sent for scans for a hamstring issue. But the Knights player later eased concerns and said it was just a precaution.

"Just at the end of the game (against Canberra on Sunday) it got tight, it was probably because of the travel and the coldness," said the in-form left centre. "The physios will monitor me and it'll be all good. Injuries are a part of the game, as footy players it comes with it and you sort of get your head around it. I'll make sure I get my body right and be all good to go."

Bradman Best, pictured here with NSW teammates Connor Watson and Mitchell Barnett.
Bradman Best (centre) with NSW teammates Connor Watson (L) and Mitchell Barnett (R). (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Matt Burton is once again acting as 18th man for NSW and will be cover for Best if he can't prove his fitness. "Bradman will bring what Bradman brings," NSW coach Michael Maguire said.

"Especially his development in the past 12 months, and sitting with Bradman, how he sees his game and his professionalism. He is a real pro about what he does. I talk to the staff up there and they say how diligent he is about how he gets everything right."