John Skandalis and Mark O’Neill have today been named as the third and fourth Life Members of Wests Tigers at the Club’s 2014 Grand Final Luncheon.
The pair join Robbie Farah and Benji Marshall as the only Life Members of Wests Tigers, after both players received the award at the end of the 2013 season.
Skandalis and O’Neill both featured in the Wests Tigers’ Team of 15 Years unveiled earlier in the year, and said they felt honoured to now be named as Life Members.
Both players were members of the inaugural Wests Tigers team in 2000, and played in the Club’s first ever game against the Brisbane Broncos in Round 1. Skandalis came to Wests Tigers after 64 games for Western Suburbs Magpies; O’Neill after 102 games for Balmain Tigers, but both quickly made their mark with the joint venture Club, and went on to feature prominently in the Club’s maiden premiership-winning team in 2005.
A prop forward, Skandalis holds the record for the first ever try for Wests Tigers, as well as being the oldest player to play first-grade for the Club — coming off the bench aged 34 years and 73 days to play his final game against the Melbourne Storm in 2010. He played seven consecutive seasons for Wests Tigers before moving to Huddersfield Giants in 2007 — only to return in 2009 to play 19 more games before he retired.
O’Neill played a total of 121 NRL games for Wests Tigers over six seasons, with his final game for the Club being the 2005 Grand Final win over North Queensland Cowboys. He took over as Club captain at the beginning of the 2005 season before retiring from the NRL — finishing his career with two seasons for Hull KR in English Super League.
In total, Skandalis played 185 NRL games for Wests Tigers, scoring 16 tries, while O’Neill played 121 games for Wests Tigers and crossed for 11 tries.