Brain Anasta has opened up about the tragic death of his father, who took his own life when the NRL great was just 15.
Speaking on the first episode of the Behind The Uniform podcast, Anasta described the tragedy as a “nightmare” and admitted he didn’t handle it well.
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“I got to 15 years of age and hit a brick wall. My father committed suicide. From nowhere, at the time,” Anasta said.
“As a family we had everything. My dad had provided us with a good life and lifestyle, a good upbringing. He was a great dad, madly in love with mum.
“He was 40 or 41... when you get my age, entering that time when he had kids like I do, then took his own life... it is crazy. I often think about it now.
“It was a real shock to us. Suicide’s a shock to anyone when it happens to your family and friends.
“Back then, I don’t think it happened as much and people didn’t talk about it as much. It was a nightmare, really.”
The former Bulldogs, Roosters and Wests Tigers star said he didn’t initially deal with his grief properly and tried to focus on other things.
“I was pretty angry. It was sickening, it haunts you forever,” he admitted.
“But at the time I was so disciplined, I had goals and aspirations to be a professional golfer... I played in a tournament two or three days later. I moved on with my life. I thought just keep rolling.
“But it comes back to bite you. You’ve got to deal with grief.
“If you totally push it to the side it’s going to come back at some stage. It’s not something you can push to the side. It’ll never go away.
“You’ve got to find ways of dealing with it and make sure you’re OK and fix yourself because it does a lot of damage.”
Cruel label that brought Braith Anasta to tears
Anasta further opened up about constantly being labelled the most overrated player in the NRL, saying the cruel treatment from his peers brought him to tears at one stage.
“Rugby League Week, the magazine, did a player poll which I thought was pretty bad,” he explained.
“I think they wouldn’t do it these days for this very reason, because I think now we’ve evolved and come along way and we know we’ve got to protect our stars.
“So they did a player poll and they’d ask a lot of questions and the last one they’d ask ‘is who’s the most overrated player?’
“It’s a loaded question and a lot of people wouldn’t answer it.
“At the time I’d burst onto the scene and to a degree, I would admit I was overrated because people were putting me up here before I’d earned my stripes.
“I got voted overrated and it kind of just sucks that I got it for a couple of years in a row.
“I was playing Origin, was the Dally M five-eighth of the year and the Roosters’ player of the year. I think it was a bit of an easy one.”
Anasta said he was home with his mother when the results of the poll were aired on the news.
“I felt I got to a stage where I’d kind of earned the right not to get it and I’d worked my butt off and got awards and won premierships and I couldn’t do any more,” Anasta said.
“I thought: ‘this year I can’t get it, surely not’. And then Channel 9 news came up and it was maybe Brian Henderson back then. The headline was: ‘after the break we reveal the most overrated player’ which is disgusting in itself when you think about it.
“I knew mum would be watching it and she’d be hoping it wasn’t me because she knew it would impact me. I heard it from upstairs and I thought ‘f*** off, that’s it I’m done. I remember breaking down, that’s it.
“I had to step away and have a break. You have to peel it all back and be grateful for the position you’re in. It could be worse, that’s not the best way to look at it.
“You’ve got a job, good money and playing the game you love.
“I started not loving it. It was common knowledge to the whole world and opposition fans would scream at you when you run onto the field.
“I still get it now, it doesn’t go away. That’s something I’m labelled with for the life by this s**t magazine who wanted to make a name for themselves by degrading good people.”
The 38-year-old played 288 first grade games, as well as representing NSW 10 times and Australia four times.