Steve Rogers (rugby league)
29 November 1954|
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Died||3 January 2006
Cronulla, New South Wales
|1983–84||St George Dragons||29||8||42||5||121|
|1973–82||New South Wales||21||7||6||0||33|
Steve Rogers (29 November 1954 – 3 January 2006) was an Australian rugby league footballer of the 1970s and 80s. He played for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and St. George Dragons teams in the New South Wales Rugby League premiership competition and for Widnes in the English competition, usually in the position of centre. Rogers represented New South Wales and Australia captaining the national team once in 1981.
After his retirement, Rogers was named as one of the five "immortals" of the Cronulla club (see ).
Steve Rogers died after swallowing a combination of prescription drugs and alcohol on 3 January 2006. In April 2006, the NSW state coroner ruled that the death was accidental, and that Rogers had not intended to commit suicide. He is survived by his sons, Mat and Don, his daughter Melanie, and his second wife Ingrid.
In the 1972 Gold Coast Group 18 competition 17-year-old centre Steve Rogers helped a Gold Coast Tigers outfit to victory in the Grand Final against Tweed Heads Seagulls. The following season he moved to Sydney to play in the NSWRFL Premiership.
Rogers began playing first grade rugby league at the age of eighteen for the Cronulla-Sutherland club in 1973. Playing the position of centre, his talent did not go unnoticed. He was described by the club's captain/coach, Tommy Bishop as a "rare, rare talent – the greatest all round centre three-quarter I have seen." In that year, he played in his first Grand final, which Cronulla lost to the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and made the first of three Kangaroo Tours.
Rogers led Cronulla to the grand final as captain, in 1978, once more against the Sea Eagles. The match was a tie, and Cronulla lost a replay in the following week. During that season, he was often switched to lock forward and was effective in that role. Three years later, he won the Dally M Lock Of The Year award.
In 1975 Rogers won the Rothmans Medal for best and fairest player in the NSWRFL. He played for New South Wales in 1980's first state of origin match. He was named player of the series in the 1981 Tooth Cup tournament and also won that year's Dally M Award.
Rogers was selected to tour with the Australian national rugby league team on the 1973 Kangaroo Tour. National honours continued when he was selected in the Australian squad for the 1975 Rugby League World Cup, 1977 Rugby League World Cup, 1978 Kangaroo tour, 1980 Tour of New Zealand and was a centre in all three tests against Great Britain and the two tests against France on the 1982 Kangaroo Tour. Rogers would captain the Kangaroos in 1981 against France.
As a result of Cronulla's serious financial difficulties, Rogers signed for 1983 with Cronulla's local rival, the St. George Dragons. He played with them for two seasons, culminating in an appearance in the 1984 reserve grade Grand Final, which the Dragons lost.
Rogers returned to Cronulla in 1985, but only played nine minutes in the season after breaking his jaw in his first game of the year against the Canterbury Bulldogs, in a tackle from Mark Bugden.
After retiring from the playing field Rogers remained involved with rugby league coaching. He coached for a time in Queensland, and worked in administrative roles for the Australian Rugby League in Darwin and Perth. After an unsuccessful business venture running a hotel at Lennox Head, Rogers became involved once more with the Cronulla club, becoming the football manager and later, Chief Executive Officer of the club.
His personal life was marred by tragedy. After losing his father (Don) and mother (Marj) to cancer, his wife Carol also died from the disease on 11 May 2001. Rogers' brother also committed suicide.
On 3 January 2006, Rogers was found dead outside the door of his Cronulla unit. Initial reports of a heart attack soon turned to suggestions of suicide as the existence of three letters—apparently suicide notes to his three children—was revealed. His son Mat also confirmed that his father had been suffering from depression: "He was suffering from some depression and, as a person of his stature and a public figure, he found it really hard to talk about it to other people and therefore exacerbated the problem," he said. Police believed that he had swallowed a cocktail of alcohol and prescription drugs. There has been some speculation that Rogers may have attempted to make an emergency telephone call in the moments before his death.
In February 2008, Rogers was named in the list of Australia's 100 Greatest Players (1908–2007) which was commissioned by the NRL and ARL to celebrate the code's centenary year in Australia. While playing football, Rogers also served in the New South Wales Police Force and in 2008, rugby league's centennial year in Australia, he was named at five-eighth in a NSW Police team of the century. Also in 2008 Rogers was named in New South Wales' rugby league team of the century.
Career playing statistics
Point scoring summary
|Cronulla Sharks||232||1973–1982, 1985|
|St. George Dragons||29||1983, 1984|
|New South Wales (residents)||17||1973–1979|
|New South Wales (state of origin)||4||1980–1982|
|Australia (World Cup)||3||1975, 1977|
|Australia (tour matches)||27||1973, 1978|
- Until 2002, Rogers held the record for the most points scored in a match (26) for the Cronulla club.
- Rogers is one of twenty Australian internationals to come from the Cronulla club, and one of two players (alongside Greg Pierce) to have captained the national side.
- Rogers holds the standing record for the most points ever scored for the Cronulla club (1253)
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (January 2010)|
- Australian Associated Press (3 January 2006) "Football great Rogers found dead", The Australian. Retrieved 4 January 2006
- Cubby, Ben et al. (5 January 2006) "Depressed and unable to talk about it: Mat tells of his father's greatest struggle", Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 January 2006
- Heads, Ian (4 January 2006) "Vale 'the complete footballer'" The Australian (page 14)
- Kogoy, Peter and McDonald, Annabelle (5 January 2006) "Legend's fatal drug, alcohol cocktail" The Australian. Retrieved 5 January 2006.
- Magnay, Jacquelin (6 January 2005) "Phone slip-up may have killed Rogers" Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 9 January 2006.
- Watson, Rhett (5 January 2006) "Depression plagued league star" www.news.com.au. Retrieved 5 January 2005.
- Cronulla Sharks official website (Individual Player Records)
- Widnes Vikings official website (Player Biography)
- World of Rugby League website
- Cronulla Sharks First Grade Juniors
- Steve Rogers at stateoforigin.com.au
- Rogers v Bugden Supreme Court of NSW
- The Australian
- Rogers didn't commit suicide ABC News Posted Sat 29 Apr, 2006 6:01pm AEST Updated Sat 29 Apr, 2006 6:15pm AEST
- Ricketts (23 September 2010). "Michael Searle and father Tom part of rugby league's rich history on the Gold Coast". The Courier-Mail (Australia: Queensland Newspapers). Retrieved 14 October 2010.
- Peter Cassidy (23 February 2008). "Controversy reigns as NRL releases top 100 players". Macquarie National News. Retrieved 23 February 2008.
- "Centenary of Rugby League – The Players". NRL and ARL. 23 February 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2008.
- ARL (2008). "Australian Rugby Football League 2008 Annual Report" (pdf). Australian Rugby Football League Limited. p. 30. Retrieved 19 July 2009.