David Simmons a footy player, father and man of faith

David Simmons of the Panthers is tackled during the round 12 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Parramatta Eels at Sportingbet Stadium on May 30, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
David Simmons of the Panthers is tackled during the round 12 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Parramatta Eels at Sportingbet Stadium on May 30, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

When he finishes playing rugby league, Penrith Panthers stalwart David Simmons could consider becoming a circus performer — he already knows a thing or two about juggling.

You know the 30-year-old as a winger for the Panthers, but his juggling act includes being a husband and father-of-four, and a man of faith.

Simmons is far from the only NRL player to identify as a Christian, but there probably aren't many others who have spent the past six years studying religion.

He has been studying for a bachelor of theology part-time through Moore College at Newtown, but because of his busy schedule, can usually only do one subject a semester.

"That's why it's taken six years, but I'm hoping to finish that degree one day," he said.

"It just requires discipline with your time. You can't waste much, or you fall behind, so I just try and do as best as I can.

"I've got four kids as well, so I give a lot of time to them, a lot of time to my footy and study, I just do as much as I can in the gaps."

Simmons recently celebrated the milestone of his 100th career try, taking his tally from 97 to 101 with a four-try haul against the Wests Tigers.

Try scorer: David Simmons of the Panthers dives over for one of his 101 career tries.   (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Try scorer: David Simmons of the Panthers dives over for one of his 101 career tries. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Though he has previously scored three hat-tricks in his NRL career, Simmons said he was pretty sure it was the only time he had ever scored four, in any level of football. He is just the 65th first-grade player to do so and, though proud, he is humble about his achievement.

"I don't really remember many games from my past, but I think I'll remember that one.

"It was my wife's birthday, we were down at Leichhardt, the four tries, the hundred, it's just a memory that'll be good to keep once footy is a distant memory."

While he knew he was closing in on his century, Simmons didn't actually know he has passed the milestone until he came off the field.

He knew he was thereabouts, but not the exact number, which is the same story with another upcoming milestone; his 200th game.

With just four games to go until he reaches 200, Simmons is not sure if the club is planning a big song and dance, but he would be fine without it.

"Behind the scenes, they will for sure.

"Ivan's really good at acknowledging those things, the boys are always very supportive of one another in that, in terms of the club I don't know.

"But just to have your team mates and your family there, that's enough for me."

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