Brian To’o to play his 100th first grade game this weekend

Penrith winger Brian To’o will play his 100th first grade game on Saturday. Photos: Melinda Jane.
Share this story

He was famously told growing up that he was too small to ever play in the NRL. Now after four Grand Final appearances, three premiership rings and 99 games and counting, Brian To’o is having the last laugh.

Sporting a fresh new haircut that everyone says makes him look younger, the 25-year-old will notch up an incredible milestone on Saturday night – 100 first-grade games.

After being handed his debut in 2019 by Ivan Cleary, the St Marys junior made an instant impact on the Panthers and hasn’t looked back since.

“It’s been a journey; it’s been a long journey – I can’t believe I’ve played 100 games especially with the one club,” To’o told the Weekender on Tuesday.

“It’s so weird… I was so young back in 2019 and fast forward five years later, I’m standing where I am now about to play 100 games.

“It makes me feel old, I feel old as now!”

Panthers winger Brian To’o back in 2020. Photo: Megan Dunn.

While the milestone might make ‘Bizza’ feel old, he still has plenty left in the tank and he’ll be hoping to make this weekend’s clash against the North Queensland Cowboys one to remember.

While his young family is unlikely to make the trip to Townsville for the occasion, To’o said he’s grateful he even has the chance to play a century of games.

“It’s pretty crazy just to step back and have a think about the amount of games I’ve played and to play 100 games is a massive milestone for me and the family – I can’t wait to run out with the guys,” he said.

“Most players don’t reach 50 or 20 games… it’s pretty cool to look back on those many moments and to think everything happens for a reason.

“I’m just grateful to play those 99 games with the one club.”

To’o’s milestone in the tropics will be played on the same weekend the NRL commemorates ANZAC Day. Every year the NRL does a wonderful job honouring Australia’s and New Zealand’s diggers, and this upcoming round will be no different.

“ANZAC Day is a very important day for not only us players but everyone,” To’o said.

“It’s the perfect day to represent all those amazing people that put their lives on the line to be where we are today, and it’s special we get to honour them on and off the field. I can’t wait to play in this wonderful round and hopefully we can get the win.”

Penrith winger Brian To’o will play his 100th first grade game on Saturday. Photos: Melinda Jane.

Proving he’s one of the good guys in rugby league, To’o got people talking on social media last weekend after it was revealed he performed a random act of kindness for someone doing it tough in the local area.

While out getting a coffee before training last Wednesday, To’o walked past a man begging for something to eat.

“I went for a little coffee in Jordan Springs and saw and heard a man asking people for something to eat,” To’o recalled.

“I was on my way to training and I thought I’d get him whatever he wanted to eat and also have a little chat with him. He didn’t know who I was… it was just one of those strange things where I’m sure anyone would have done the same thing. It’s good to help other people and make a difference.”

Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is the Weekender's Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for a decade.

Share this story