Emotional Kite prepares for game 300
In a week where he prepares to play his 300th NRL game, Penrith prop Brent Kite has revealed plans to join the coaching ranks at the club when he retires.
"That was part of the plan coming out here," Kite told reporters on Wednesday.
"I don't know in what capacity, [but] it's a really good club, Penrith. It seems like it's got more pathways than other clubs seeing as though it's got a huge junior base and the club over the road there.
"Obviously you can't secure your future while you're playing, but it's something I'd love to do and hopefully it works out."
Kite, 33, will have the welcome disruption this week of moving into a new home at the foot of the mountains instead of stewing over becoming just the 20th player in rugby league history to reach the triple century mark.
"It's pretty sentimental. I just got the keys handed to me for a new house, so that's occupying a bit of the head space. Got to try and get in there on Friday on our day off, so it might be a welcome distraction," he said.
Furthermore, the two-time premiership-winner with Manly will be just the fourth prop to achieve the feat after Ruben Wiki, Steve Price and Petero Civoniceva.
But a typically humble Kite played down the achievement.
"It could be considered the toughest position, but it's also probably the most simple position," he said.
"I say to young kids coming through, it's a spot where if you try hard [enough], you generally do well and have a decent game.
"It's the playmakers and these other guys catching high balls that are having to put on the big play. In the front row, [if] you have a bit of crack, you usually go okay. Not that I've always managed to do that. But I've done it for long enough I suppose to get to the milestone."
Teammate Tyrone Peachey said Kite's longevity and experience had been a key part to Penrith's resurgence as a finals contender this year, and hinted at the veteran's coaching ability during video sessions.
"In the videos and stuff, he always has important stuff to say. And on the field, he knows exactly what to tell us young blokes. If we've gotten ourselves in a pickle, he'll come up with something smart to do," Peachey said.
"He's got two grand finals that he's won, and played in two more that he says he should've won. But he just adds so much to the team. Everyone respects him for what he's done. No one can question what he has to say because of what he has to offer."
Kite listed the Clive Churchill Medal he was awarded for a man-of-the-match performance in the 2008 decider against Melbourne as his career highlight, while also crediting former teammate Ben Kennedy as a key figure in helping create Manly's current dynasty as a finals force. Kite appeared in eight finals campaigns over eight seasons at Brookvale.
"I always give Ben a mention because in my first year there, I didn't go great. I had big expectations on me, [whereas] he brained it," Kite said.
"He made their Team of the Century in two years, so whenever it was mentioned how we did that year - I think we made the finals - I sorta got lumped in with him as 'Kitey and BK made the difference'. [But] I think it was more him. Second year I think I came good."
Kite's current contract with Penrith expires at the end of next season, when he'll attempt to take many of the lessons he learnt from all of his predecessors into a coaching career.
"I'd love to get into coaching, so I try and take a bit out of all the good coaches I've played under," he said.
"I still remember things from back in the days at the Dragons with Nathan Brown; Robert Finch back at Canberra before that; I was lucky enough to have Gus in Origin, he's got some real good ideas. He's one of the real innovators, along with Dessie. I could say them all. Toovs was great too.
"But probably Dessie, I probably went to Manly there as a bit of a marquee player, if you like. Or there was some expectation on me to do well. And Des definitely helped me do that and get the best out of me in those years we were together at Manly."