Mention the name Sam Thaiday and it’s a pretty safe bet that your mind will wander to the bullocking and much-loved football star. But there is so much more to the Broncos prop than his impressive 279-game career. At his core, Sam is a family man who has built a beautiful family with his wife, Rachel, and their two girls, Gracie, 4, and Ellsie, 2, in Samford.

Despite his bold and powerful style of football, Sam is relaxed and jovial. You wouldn’t expect him to love poetry and art, but he does.

With Sam recently announcing his retirement from the game, he will have plenty more time to explore these new-found hobbies when he hangs up his boots after the 2018 season.

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(LEFT) SAM WEARS: M.J. Bale Ronan polo $79.95, Cortini trouser $299 ELLSIE WEARS: Country Road Back cross dress $79.95 RACHEL WEARS: David Jones AJE Marie Ange dress $455 GRACIE WEARS: Zara Dress $52. (RIGHT) SAM WEARS: David Jones Industrie The Tennyson shirt $79.95, Scotch and Soda Chino short $189.95 RACHEL WEARS: Scotch And Soda Silk jacquard dress $599.95 ELLSIE WEARS: Zara Dress $39.95;

“The feeling I have got from other retiring players is that life gets even busier off the field,” Sam says.

So, when it comes to the festive season, what does Christmas mean to the Thaidays? Keen lovers of food and wine, Christmas Day is a big affair in the Thaiday household. But sadly, there’ll be no slacking off his strict diet and fitness regime for Sam, who is preparing for the 2018 footy season.

“This time of year would normally be my rest after Australian commitments but this year, it will be fitness and diet focused to stay on top of it for the return to pre-season training after a little break over Christmas. We are already back out on the training paddock now,” Sam says.

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SAM WEARS: M.J. Bale Ronan polo $79.95, Cortini trouser $299 ELLSIE WEARS: Country Road Back cross dress $79.95 RACHEL WEARS: David Jones AJE Marie Ange dress $455 GRACIE WEARS: Zara Dress $52;

“Christmas Day for us has always been about lots of laughter and happiness with the family. We love big Christmas’s with the family, extended family and our closest friends. The more the merrier is my motto. Mum always made Christmas a big deal for us growing up,” Rachel adds.

Sam and Rachel have called Brisbane home for over 16 years, but are still discovering hidden gems close to home, such as the Roma Street Parkland, where the inspiration came for this month’s cover.

“We live in a nice spot of Brisbane that has lots of little watering holes nearby, so we tend to go and explore them. Weekends are usually filled with picnics, bike riding and we love a spot of fresh shopping at local farmers markets,” Sam says.

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(LEFT) RACHEL WEARS: David Jones Lee Mathews Edith linen ruffle dress $699 SAM WEARS: Scotch And Soda Printed t-shirt $79.95 ELLSIE WEARS: David Jones Zimmerman Paradiso Broiderie dress $145 GRACIE WEARS: Seed Heritage Tiered drop dress $59.95. (RIGHT) GRACIE WEARS: David Jones Zimmermann Lovelorn dress $145 RACHAL WEARS: David Jones C&M Malabar tee $110, David Jones Bec & Bridge Alexis dress $240

You might be wondering how the hugely-celebrated athlete remains so grounded and humble? Perhaps it comes down to his filter-free children.

“I love seeing my Dad on TV, he is funny and makes me laugh. My Mum says he is not famous though,” Gracie says.

As for his post-footy plans, Sam has been busy with media commitments for Nova and Channel 9 in the lead up to his retirement and has been working on some exciting projects and is hoping these will pay off in 2019.

“Don’t worry, you will still get to see this pretty face in the media at some stage, I’m sure.”

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(LEFT) RACHEL WEARS: David Jones C&M Malabar tee $110, David Jones Bec & Bridge Alexis dress $240 SAM WEARS: Country Road Turtle motif short $89.95, Tropical print polo $69.95 ELSIE WEARS: Sabo Mini Willow eyelet dress $168 GRACIE WEARS: David Jones Zimmermann Lovelorn floral tie dress $145. (RIGHT) SAM WEARS: David Jones Industrie The Tennyson shirt $79.95, Scotch and Soda Chino short $189.95 RACHEL WEARS: Scotch And Soda Silk jacquard dress $599.95 ELLSIE WEARS: Zara Dress $39.95;

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