ROGERS CUP | "The rivalry will always be there"
When Manly play host to the Sharks tonight, there’ll be more than just bragging rights and two competition points on the line.
First introduced into the Sharks versus Manly contest in 2006, the ‘Steve Rogers Cup’ will tonight again be contested for, with the hosts the current holders of the Cup having defeated the Sharks in Round 26 last season.
Rogers – a member of the Sharks’ 1973 and 1978 Grand Final sides versus Manly – tragically passed in the Summer of 2006, with the clubs honouring his memory from that point forward.
Son, and former Sharks great Mat Rogers, spoke with sharks.com.au in the lead up to tonight’s match, in saying that he’s proud his father’s legacy lives on in the iconic rivalry.
“I think the Club’s doing a great job on letting our players know about our history, every player who comes to the Sharks gets to know a bit about our past,” he said.
“He was probably the greatest Shark. It’s great that we play for that Cup and recognise our past.”
While the Grand Finals and the memories of are etched in the history of the game, the many matches both in between and after the finals fixtures would stand to add further still to the rivalry between the clubs.
“To think that we’d been in the league for six years and went that close to winning, and the only thing that stood in our way was Manly,” Rogers said.
“It’s created a rivalry and a hatred between the two teams, because they were the ones who had stopped us from winning those comps.
“Regardless of rule changes and the likes, the rivalry will always be there.”
Rogers will tune in to watch tonight’s clash with a keen eye, hopeful the Sharks can overturn a recent run of losses at Brookvale.
Coming off a last start thumping of the Dragons at home, Rogers said the side – lead by new halves and a back line brimming with youth and talent – will be well on their way to reversing the trend.
“’Chad’s been phenomenal, his stint away from the Club has certainly see him grow up and mature a bit,” Rogers said.
“(James) Maloney’s been good too. Val (Holmes), Feki … everyone’s doing their role well.
“But It’s the start of the year, and they need to win games. I’m sure they’ll get the job done this week.”