Braith Anastasakis (Greek: Μπρεϊθ Αναστασάκης), commonly known as Braith Anasta, (born 14 January 1982) is a Greek-Australian former professional rugby league footballer who played as a five-eighth and lock in the 2000s and 2010s. He was both an Australian and Greek international. He played for New South Wales in the State of Origin series. Anasta played for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, with whom he won the 2004 NRL Premiership, the Sydney Roosters and the Wests Tigers.
While his Greek heritage through his father made him eligible to represent the Greek national rugby league team, Anasta initially pledged his allegiance to his mother’s country in Australia. Since 2001, Anasta has played representative football for City Origin, New South Wales and Australia.
After his outstanding 2001 season, Anasta was selected in the Australian squad for the 2001 Kangaroo Tour. It was on this tour that Anasta made his International debut, coming off the bench in Australia’s 54–12 thrashing of Papua New Guinea at Lloyd Robson Oval on 7 October 2001. He was then selected in every match of Australia’s 2–1 Ashes triumph over Great Britain. With Anasta coming off the bench in each game, Australia fought back from a 1–0 deficit, with Anasta helping the cause by scoring a try in Australia’s 40–12 win in the second Test.
In August, 2008, Anasta was named in the preliminary 46-man Kangaroos squad for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup.
New South Wales
Anasta was a regular in the New South Wales team from 2002. He made his Origin debut on 22 May in Game One of the 2002 series, coming off the bench as the Blues easily beat Queensland 32–4. Anasta was promoted to start five-eighth for Game Two of the series, filling in for the injured Trent Barrett. While he scored his first Origin try in the match, the Blues lost 26–18 and the series was levelled at 1–1. When Barrett returned from injury, Anasta was left out of the side entirely, with Scott Hill being favoured for the third match of what ended up being a tied series.
Shaun Timmins was preferred to Anasta as five-eighth for the 2003 series, however Anasta was selected as lock in Game Three after the Blues had already sealed the series. Anasta missed the 2004 series completely due to the return to representative football of Anasta’s future coach, Brad Fittler.
While Trent Barrett was originally selected as New South Wales’ five-eighth for the 2005 State of Origin series, his injury opened the door for Anasta to play in Game II. Down 1–0 in the series, Anasta helped the Blues come back to win the series 2–1, scoring a try in the decisive Game III at Suncorp Stadium. Anasta played the first two matches of the 2006 State of Origin series, however was dropped for the last match after the Blues had an embarrassing 30–6 loss in Game II. Despite this, Anasta returned for the first two matches of the 2007 State of Origin series before being ruled out for the third with a fractured finger.
Anasta has played 10 games for New South Wales, scoring 2 tries for 8 points.
Anasta made his City Origin debut on the 10th May 2002 at Eric Weissel Oval, Wagga Wagga in a 26–16 win for City. Anasta would make 7 appearances for City over his career, winning a total of 4 series.
In 2013, Anasta made himself available to play for his father’s country in Greece. He made his debut in a match against Hungary in Budapest, scoring four tries and kicking fifteen goals from as many attempts for a total of 46 points in the 90-0 victory. Anasta said, “To play for Greece was a proud moment for me, for my dad and grandparents. It was the first time I was in Greece beforehand and I loved it.”