|Full name||Matthew Ballin|
|Nickname||Bal, Bally|
5 January 1984 |
Nanango, Queensland, Australia
|Height||179 cm (5 ft 10 in)|
|Weight||88 kg (13 st 12 lb)|
|As of 14 May 2013|
|Source: Rugby League Project Herald Sun|
Matthew Ballin (born 5 January 1984 in Nanango, Queensland) is an Australian professional rugby league player who currently plays in the NRL for the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, with whom he won the 2008 and 2011 Premierships. He primarily plays at Hooker.
Although he was born in Nanango, Ballin grew up in Kingaroy and attended Kingaroy State High School where his father is the school Principal. A good student, Ballin was well liked by his peers.
Ballin signed with Sydney based club Manly-Warringah and made his NRL debut in Round 2 of the 2007 NRL season when the Sea Eagles defeated the Wests Tigers 19-8 at Leichhardt Oval, scoring a try in his first grade debut.
He played in Manly's record breaking 40-0 victory over the Melbourne Storm in the 2008 NRL Grand Final where he was the games first try scorer. During his first three seasons at Manly, Ballin rarely played a full NRL game (despite being a supremely fit player thanks in part to his "day job" as a personal trainer), with coach Des Hasler using Heath L'Estrange from the bench as a replacement hooker.
Ballin's solid form for Manly continued in 2009-10 despite the Sea Eagles failing to recapture their 2008 form. Before the 2011 NRL season Manly were not rated among the premiership favourites but stunned experts by finishing the minor round in 2nd place before going on to repeat their 2008 win by defeating the New Zealand Warriors in the 2011 NRL Grand Final giving Ballin his second NRL premiership as a player.
Coming off contract at the end of season 2012, rumours were rampant that Ballin would be a casualty of Manly's post-premiership(s) salary cap pressures, with the Canberra Raiders the front runners to secure his signature. However, after the departure of test back rower Tony Williams to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Manly were able to re-sign Ballin, and Fullback Brett Stewart, to new long term contracts keeping them at the club until the end of the 2015 and 2016 seasons respectively, effectively ensuring both remain one-club players.
Ballin played every game for Manly in 2012 and finished the season as the league's leading tackler. He was rewarded for his tireless season with the Roy Bull Best and Fairest award as Manly's best player.
In 2010, with injury to Melbourne's Cameron Smith, Ballin was named in the Queensland side and played in Game 1 of the series at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney, won 28-24 by the Maroons. With Smith returning from injury, Ballin wasn't considered for the rest of the series, though he was on standby for the team should Smith's injury re-occur. Although Ballin only played one game, he was considered a vital part in Queensland's 3-0 whitewash of New South Wales.
Ballin is renowned for his immaculate service from dummy-half and his tireless defence, more often than not making at least 30 tackles a game. He is also an adept runner of the ball and is capable of highly accurate kicks off one step (though team kickers Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran usually have that job).
Matt was voted the 2008 Adidas "Sexiest Man in League". Ballin also works as a personal fitness trainer specialising in fitness and weight loss. He is often considered among the fittest players in the NRL.
- "Grand final: As it happened". Fox Sports. 5 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-05.
- "Manly's Ballin in Canberra crosshairs". The Canberra Times. 9 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
- "Queensland name preliminary State of Origin squad". Fox Sports. 28 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
- Dean Ritchie (13 April 2007). "Ballin hooked on work". The Daily Telegraph (Sydney). Retrieved 2008-09-13.