Montgomery ‘Monty’ Betham Jr. (born March 12, 1978 in Auckland, New Zealand) is Founder of the non-profit organization Steps For Life, an Ambassador for Youth Line, and a Personal Trainer at Boxing Alley.
Betham Jr. is most known as a former Rugby League and Super League player who captained both the NRL Vodafone Warriors and Wakefield Wildcats, playing Lock and Hooker positions.
He is also no stranger to the small screen as a Reality T.V Personality appearing in New Zealand’s version of Dancing with the Stars and Treasure Island.
Betham Jr. released a tell-all Celebrity Portrait series titled: Baring My Soul – in which he partnered up with author John Matheson, that include details of his 8 year career with the NRL Vodafone Warriors, his Reality T.V stints and his professional Boxing career.
Betham Jr. was a black belt in Karate winning a Bronze medal at the Junior World Championships. He last competed at age 16 in the New Zealand Men’s open and won, before concentrating on his career in League.
Betham Jr. signed a Scholarship in 1995′s inception of the Auckland Warriors while still in School at the time. In 1997 he signed a full time contract Captaining the Warriors U-19 squad to the grand final against Penrith. On March 08, 1999, he made his first grade debut with the Auckland Warriors. He also Captained the Junior Kiwis and represented Samoa in the 2000 World Cup competition.
At the end of the Auckland Warriors 2000 season, the franchise became bankrupt and was sold for the second time in their short franchise history. The new owner Eric Watson re-branded the franchise to the New Zealand Warriors, signing Betham Jr. along with two other foundation players (Stacey Jones and Logan Swann) to make the 2001 squad.
Betham Jr. would become part of the historic 2001 season in which the Warriors qualified for their first ever finals appearance in the NRL, but eventually lost to the Parramatta Eels.
In 2002, Betham Jr. took over sole Captaincy from Stacey Jones and Kevin Campion, making him the youngest Captain at 24 years of age. The club finished the year as minor premiers and made the grand final for the first time. However, due to a season ending injury, he was ruled out from taking part in the grand final. The Warriors lost 30-8 to the Sydney Roosters. Stacey Jones took over as Captain until Betham Jr. recovered from his injury in 2003.
With the youngest squad among the 15 NRL franchise clubs and taking over his Captaincy role again after an interruption to his 2002 season due to injury, Betham Jr. and his Warriors came within one game of the grand final, but lost to eventual premiers – Penrith Panthers.
In 2004, Warriors coach Daniel Anderson resigned. Betham Jr. remained Captain under new coach Tony Kemp (prior to the replacement, he was Assistant Coach to Daniel Anderson). The 2004 season saw the Warriors go from 6th place in 2003 down to 14th out of 15 NRL clubs.
Betham Jr. ended his time with the club in 2005 and took on the Captaincy role of first grade team Wakefield Wildcats for the Super League in England. He played one year of his two year contract, before retiring in November 2006 from Rugby and Super League altogether.
Ending his 8 years of professional League, Monty Betham played more than 100 games for the NRL Vodafone Warriors, 9 tests for the New Zealand Kiwis, 4 games for Samoa and 26 Super League Games. He also scored 10 tries for the Warriors, 2 in the Super League and 1 for the NZ Kiwis.
Boxing: Betham Jr. comes from Boxing stock, his father Monty Betham Sr. had a stellar career as a professional Boxer who collected New Zealand, Australasian and a Commonwealth Middleweight titles during the 70′s and 80′s, so it was no surprise that his son, Betham Jr. would retire from League hanging his boots up, to follow his fathers path by pulling on the Boxing gloves.
On March 31, 2007 he made his winning debut in professional Boxing against Vai Toevai in Apia, Samoa. He won by knock out (K.O) in the sixth round. Betham Jr. retired at the end of 2007 with an unbeaten 5 professional bout record.
Betham Jr. embraced his new role as a Personal Trainer at Boxing Alley that same year in 2007, and continues to be a presence there til this day, helping others achieve their fitness goal in a Boxing structured environment. He became the Boxing Trainer to Daniella Smith, who won the world IBF Welterweight title under his coaching.
Betham Jr. founded the Steps For Life Foundation in 2009. An organization set up to battle against youth obesity. The programs focus on four main areas: nutrition, physical activity, psychological issues and family engagement.
After 4 years of being absent from taking part in professional bouts, Betham Jr. lent his name to Fight for Life – one of the most widely-known sporting events to be held in New Zealand between Rugby Union and Rugby League sports codes. The charity event was held December 03, 2011 where he faced off against Cruiserweight Commonwealth title holder Shane Cameron.
Television: In December 2007 it was announced that Betham Jr. would compete in season 4 of Dancing With The Stars, that was due to start February 2008. It was revealed that professional dancer Nerida Jantti would be his partner for the show. Betham Jr. was a finalist on the show and on April 15, 2008 he was named runner-up to Temepara George who was the overall winner of Dancing With The Stars.
Betham Jr. is currently a Sports Commentator at SkyTV Sports for Rugby League.
Highlights & Awards:
- At age 16 he won the New Zealand Men’s Open – Karate Championship
- The youngest person to Captain the NRL Vodafone Warriors team at 24 years of age
- Monty Betham Jr. and Monty Betham Sr. are the only Father & Son pair in New Zealand and of Samoan heritage to have a Father as a Pro Boxer and Son to quit League to become a Pro Boxer. The only other Father & Son pair to do that is Tony Mundine Sr. & Anthony Mundine Jr. from Australia. (something else both families share in common – both Betham Sr. and Mundine Sr. fought each other in the past for the vacant Australasian Middleweight title)