SON OF A GUN | Jack Rogers
The grandson of Sharks immortal Steve, the son of former Cronulla standout and dual international Mat, Jack Rogers certainly has the appropriate pedigree to become a star at whichever football codes he chooses to pursue.
Young Rogers was making his way for the Burleigh Bears in rugby league before being coaxed to try the 15-man game, going on to become a leading light for the Bond University First Grade Colts side in the Gold Coast rugby competition.
Then came a desire to move to Sydney and with it was an opportunity to join the club synonymous with his famous family. The rest is history, Jack now having the chance to make a name for himself at the Cronulla Sharks.
Seemingly a level-headed youngster, Rogers appreciates nothing will be presented on a platter because of his family background, with the 19-year-old happy to put in the hard yards to achieve his goals.
“I’m just going to have to work hard and hopefully the results will come,’’ Jack said. “It’s an opportunity at this stage and that’s it. It’s up to me to make the most of that opportunity.’’
Sharks fans with long memories will remember the deeds of Steve, while you don’t have too look as far back to recall what Mat achieved in both league and rugby union.
Keen judges see a bit of both in Jack’s style of play.
“People say I look like dad and people that watched pop play say that I look like both him and dad,” he said. “But I think of myself as my own person and so does dad.”
Sharks NRL coach Shane Flanagan recognises the obvious talents and is certainly happy to see just how far Jack can progress in the weeks and months ahead.
“He’s been playing rugby union and defensively, it’s a lot different,” Flanagan told the Daily Telegraph. “He’ll spend a few weeks getting used to our structures and what is required.
“We won’t be gifting him a saloon path, we’ve got a lot of talented young kids in the system, so he’s going to have to fight to get there.
“But his family hold a special place in our club and in our supporters memories and we’re very pleased Jack will be wearing our colours.”
Half as good as either dad or his late grandfather or some sort of combination of the two, the Sharks could potentially become the beneficiaries in the not-too-distant future, but as his uncle Don Rogers would add the journey for Jack is just beginning.
“This is just the first chapter for him, he’s got to write the rest of it for himself now,” Don said.
Jack calmly posed for photographs and put his first media session as a Shark behind him, before heading off to day one of training with the NYC squad.
It has been made clear there are no guarantees but the youngster seems committed to make his way in rugby league and to do it at the Sharks.
Watch this space in the coming months as Rogers gets up to speed with the rigours of NYC training as he attempts to break into the Sharks Under 20s team.
It won’t be easy, with the Sharks 20s trending upwards this season and many of those from the successful SG Ball squad now pushing up into the higher grade but on face value Jack is up for the challenge and appears comfortable in the environment.
Many Sharks young and old will certainly be wishing him well, believing he is exactly where he should be, with Rogers agreeing he might just be in the right place to begin writing that opening chapter.
“I ran around here as a youngster, there’s a lot of fondness for this place. It does feel like home,’’ Jack said.