Innisfail’s Bailey Biondi-Odo wins Canterbury-Bulldogs’ Rookie of the Year award

Bailey Biondi-Odo, who made his NRL debut this year for Canterbury-Bulldogs, won the Club’s Rookie of the Year Award. Photo: Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

FORMER Innisfail junior rugby league player, Bailey Biondi-Odo, who made his NRL debut for Canterbury-Bulldogs this year, recently took out the Steve Mortimer Rookie of the Year trophy at the Club’s awards presentation. 


After playing in the Jersey Flegg team, he made his long-awaited NRL debut in the Round 16 clash against Manly Sea Eagles at Bankwest Stadium.


Biondi-Odo first joined the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Club from the Parramatta Eels ahead of season 2020. 


He commenced in the junior ranks in Under 6s and 8s with the Innisfail Cowboys, before he moved to Innisfail Brothers, where he played from Under 10 to Under 16. 


At the age of 11, Biondi-Odo started attracting the attention of NRL clubs. This interest waned as he got older due to his small stature.


He also played in the Cyril Connell (Under 16) competition, and the Mal Meninga Cup (Under 18) in Queensland, which is equivalent to the New South Wales SG Ball competition, as well as with the Northern Pride Under 16 team in Cairns.


While he was part of the Innisfail Leprechauns, he played in the Under 18 team, won the Club’s Under 19 Most Potential Player and was an Under 19 medal finalist for the Cairns District Rugby League awards. 


When Ty Williams was Captain Coach of the Innisfail Leprechauns A-grade side in 2014-15, Biondi-Odo was a familiar face at Callendar Park as a ball boy and running out the tee.


Biondi-Odo is the latest Northern Pride Academy player and third Far North Queensland junior to make his NRL debut this year.


He never gave up on his dream to be footy player and was really dedicated the sport and put in the hard work, even choosing to stay at home with his family on weekends to keep himself out of trouble.


Biondi-Odo was determined to follow in the footsteps of his cousins, Ben Barba, Justin Hodges, and Wendell Sailor.


After being rejected by both the Broncos and the Cowboys, at the age of 14 he was given the opportunity to join the Parramatta Eels and made the 2,500km trip from Innisfail to Parramatta.


He went through the Parramatta Eels junior ranks, before being picked up by the Bulldogs.


Biondi-Odo is the the youngest of six siblings and comes from a diverse cultural background.


His grandfather was half PNG and Torres Strait Islander, whilst his grandmother was Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, and Malay. 


His mother is half English/Aboriginal and half Italian, hence the Italian name (Biondi).


Biondi-Odo recently returned home to the Far North, and, over the September school holidays, he was a hit at the junior rugby league development clinics run by Cairns Brothers Junior Rugby League at Stan Williams Park.


The talented 19-year-old has recently re-signed with the Bulldogs Club for two years, until the end of 2023.

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