Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Rogers Says Sharks Win Will Make His Dad Proud

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Rogers Says Sharks Win Will Make His Dad Proud

Article excerpt


NRL: Dual international Mat Rogers was close to tears when Cronulla beat Canberra to win its way into Sunday's NRL grand final.

But the tears he fought back weren't those of joy that his former club had broken a 21-year drought to play Melbourne in the biggest game of the year -- but because his father, Steve Rogers, was not alive to see his beloved Sharks possibly win the club's first premiership.

Steve Rogers was known as "The Prince" of centres because of his graceful sidestep, speed, agility and ability to leave defenders standing still, much like Brisbane's Steve Renouf in his prime.

He played 203 games for Cronulla between 1973 and 1985 -- playing in the Sharks sides of 1973 and 1978 (as captain) that lost grand finals to Manly -- scoring 82 tries and kicking more than 500 goals. He also played 21 games for New South Wales (seven tries) and 24 games for Australia (seven tries), and is one of the Cronulla club's five immortals.

When he died in 2006, he was the club's chief executive.

"I almost shed a few tears wishing the old boy was here to see it," said Rogers junior, who emulated his famous father by playing 123 games for Cronulla (1996-2001), scoring 75 tries.

Like his father, he also played Origin for Queensland and Tests for Australia, before going on to become a dual international, playing 45 rugby union games for Australia.

"I'm rapt (they are in the grand final)," he said. "They've been a great side to watch all year. I believe they can get the job done."

Rogers said despite the massive occasion and the emotional wave building behind the Sharks, he didn't think the players would suffer grand final stage fright.

Rogers played for the Sharks in the 1997 Super League grand final against a red-hot Brisbane Broncos but believes Cronulla blew its best chance to win a premiership two years later. …

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