CW - do you remember Dan deriding us a few years back for having the temerity to suggest that Kite would be a success because of his personal faith? Kite's a natural reborn thriller June 13, 2007 SPEAKING in tongues isn't quite how you'd picture most rugby league stars spending their free time, but NSW prop and devout Christian Brent Kite has been bucking locker-room trends ever since he turned to the church - a decision he credits for his astonishing career escalation. Kite and his wife, Haley, have been speaking to God in an indecipherable dialect for some time. "It's not a language you can learn or others can understand, it is your own language that allows you to communicate directly with God," Haley explains. Kite is unequivocal about his faith. He lays praise squarely on "the Lord" for transforming him from a decent teenage footballer with a habit of involving himself in drunken fights into one of the premier forwards of the game. "After I became a reborn Christian my career has really taken off," says Kite, 26. "I started playing representative football and I've managed to stay relatively injury free, and I thank the Lord for that." But he wants everyone to know: "I am free to have a beer, but I choose not to have a beer. People that see the restrictions don't see that there is freedom in the decision not to drink. "I get a bit concerned that people either pity me or they think, 'He is just trying to follow these rules and he thinks that will save him'. It is actually the other way around, where I do feel saved and I want to do the right thing by God. You just don't want people to think you are a zombie who follows all these rules to store up favours come judgement day." On his 18th birthday, Kite was knocked out in a fight during a boozy party that left him without a tooth and much of the hair on the back of his scalp after being spear-tackled into concrete. As he stared in the mirror the next morning, doubts about his lifestyle choices surfaced. But it wasn't until his eldest sister, Rebecca, told him about the "healing" powers of the church a year later that Kite decided a change was needed. "I believe in healing, and the Bible says, in John 3:3, 'No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again'," Kite says. "I was pretty young when I started under-age drinking, I started to question whether there was a God. My sister told me there was a place where people still believe in miracles." Church steered Kite away from trouble and into the arms of Haley, whom he met at a religious house gathering - his first meeting since taking up his sister's offer. "Everyone was really welcoming, she was the only one who didn't say hello to me," Kite recalls. Haley explains: "I didn't say hello because I didn't want him to know that I liked him." The Canberra-raised couple now has two children, fiercely independent two-year-old daughter Georgina, and laid-back son Jesaiah, eight months. When they met, Brent was playing in the lower grades for the Raiders. After he signed with the Dragons in 2002 and moved to Kogarah, Optus made a fortune. "We used to stay up and talk right through the night," Haley says. "I remember my alarm going off at 7am and thinking, 'Oh my gosh'." It wasn't long before she joined the budding first-grader in Sydney, but they rarely had time to see each other, and Haley - a country girl originally from Albury-Wodonga - became lonely in the big city and moved back to Canberra. "We believe in saving ourselves for one person," Kite says. "When she went back, I finally realised that I wanted to be with her, have a wife and a family." Most young men - particularly high-profile footballers with opportunities to have relations with multiple partners - would have marriage at the bottom of most lists they write, and Kite did encounter the wild side of player bonding. "There was a situation once where a girl came back to the room and I had to tell the boys that I don't agree with this and I left," he says. After marrying Haley at 22, Kite's form skyrocketed at the Dragons, prompting coach Nathan Brown to tell Mrs Kite every time he saw her: "Whatever you're doing to him, keep going." A massive contract from Manly was then thrown his way and now Kite is a regular Kangaroo and Origin representative and senior player in one of the NRL's top sides. It has been a dramatic rise for Kite, one of six children to Robert and Mele, who is Tongan. He has three sisters - Rebecca, Monika and Aiona - and brothers Daniel and Tory. And while he credits God, and believes he has been "saved", he views Origin as importantly as any religious quest. "I don't downplay it, it's pretty important to me," he says. "There's a scripture that says you should do your work as unto the Lord, and I believe you should do that whether it is playing rugby league, or bartending . . . actually, not bartending!"