How Steve “Beaver” Menzies went from scoring tries in rugby league to sinking his teeth into broking.
In 2005, when I was just 12 years old, I was taken to Narrabeen for a school retreat. To my surprise, the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles were training a stone’s throw away from the retreat centre, and I, being the fanatic Manly supporter that I was (and still am), begged my school teacher to let me visit the rugby league team next door.
After some serious negotiation, I got my permission — and even better, the club’s coaching staff agreed to let us meet the players.
“They’re all here,” the coaching staff said.
But that wasn’t true. My rugby league hero — Steve “Beaver” Menzies — wasn’t there. While I was thrilled to meet the players and get their autographs on a random T-shirt I had worn that day, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed.
About a week later, I walked into class and was greeted with a package on my desk. In the package, to my delight, I found my name printed on a wooden cutout of the club jersey, accompanied by a signed letter from none other than the man himself: Steve Menzies. That I’ll never forget.
In his career, Steve Menzies played 349 games for the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, represented New South Wales on 20 occasions and Australia 13 times. Before retiring in 2013, Beaver also played for the Bradford Bulls and the Catalans Dragons in the Super League. Overall, the rugby league icon played 477 games and scored an astounding 238 tries, amassing total points of 952.
The highlight of Mr Menzies’s sporting career was his second grand final victory in 2008, in what would be his last game for the Sea Eagles. It also happens to be my favourite sporting memory. So, as I met the two-time premiership winner for the first time in his Sydney office to discuss his new career in the finance industry, I started here.
Considering his achievements, the sporting great is surprisingly humble.
“It was a huge occasion and to win was amazing,” Mr Menzies recollects. “The older you get, the more you appreciate how difficult it is to win [premierships].
“So,  was going to be my last year. [I] wasn’t going to play again for the Sea Eagles and had one last chance to win a grand final.
“We won it, and we won 40–nil, and I scored a try at the end, so it was a bit of a fairy-tale finish.”
Many would have predicted that, after hanging up his boots, an athlete of Mr Menzies’s calibre would naturally pursue a role within the sporting industry. And while he did work briefly for Fox Sports, Pure Performance Golf (a company he co-founded) and still serves as an ambassador for the Sea Eagles, he had other ideas for his future: a career in the finance industry.
In July 2017, Mr Menzies assumed the position of business development manager at Bell Partners, a new job that helped “fill the void” left after his retirement from rugby league.
“I’ve always liked finance and wanted to be a stock broker when I was younger,” Mr Menzies reveals. “[After retiring], you need to find something to fill that passion and void that you had for 20 years playing the game.
“So, I found [that] doing mortgages and asset finance excites me. I hadn’t felt this excitement or drive since I retired four years ago.
“[So], what drives you as a person to play rugby league, drives me now, as a broker.” Looking to break into the industry, Mr Menzies contacted a friend who worked in the financial planning side of Bell Partners.
After sitting down with managing director Mark Stevenson and wealth advisory MD Brett Taggart, the new BDM knew that Bell Partners would be “a good fit”.
He says that many of the qualities that lead to success in the sporting world are present at Bell Partners.
“When you’re playing rugby league, you’re not competing against each other, but you’re pushing each other to be the best, so I’m in a similar environment.
“[No] one wants to let [their colleagues] down and be the weak link of the team. That’s a good culture that breeds success, and I instantly felt that when I came in.”
While Mr Menzies has left the game to start a new chapter in a different industry, he still possesses an athlete’s mindset.
“What you do from nine to five is completely different from the rugby league world,” the rugby centre says, “but I think the leadership qualities that you get from playing rugby league, you can use here.”
He admits, however, that since joining the finance industry, he has faced some challenges, and the greatest one is having less time to spend with his family. He also reveals that he had become accustomed to receiving constant feedback and instruction from coaches, teammates and training staff as a player, but now he finds himself in an environment where his performance is rarely critiqued.
“That’s not always the way it is in the real world. You don’t have someone watching over your shoulder, like a coach.” These challenges haven’t stopped the BDM from finding his feet and “helping people get money for probably the biggest purchase of their lives”. For him, the satisfaction in the new role comes from the emotional element.
Speaking about his experience settling his first finance application, he recalls: “That was pretty cool. I got through the process and they were happy and satisfied. Nothing’s ever simple the first time, but it was very satisfying [and] we got there in the end.”
As one might expect from someone with his resumé, Mr Menzies is undeterred by a challenge. From becoming a premiership winner to climbing Mount Everest to raise money for charity to walking the Kokoda Track, the athlete always seems to “get there in the end”.
Going forward, Mr Menzies is determined to prove himself in the finance industry. “Being in a different world, I want to show that I can succeed at something else,” Mr Menzies says.
“At the moment, I’m still a rugby league player who’s doing mortgage broking and asset finance. In three years, I want to be a successful broker, an asset finance guy who used to play rugby league.”