Winger of the Half Century: Mat Rogers

Carrying the name of a famous father can be a burden to some, but to Mat Rogers it was a gift.

The son of the late, great Steve Rogers, a Sharks immortal and man firmly in the conversation when it comes to discussions as to the best Shark of all time, Mat wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

“Being the son of one of the greatest ever Sharks in Steve Rogers, regardless of whether I’d played or not, that would have been enough,” an emotional Mat said at the recent 50th Anniversary Gala Ball.

“But to wear the same jersey and to now be named in the same side as my dad, I’m incredibly honoured, humbled and really proud.”

The Rogers name featured twice at Doltone House when the Team of the Half Century was announced, with Mat on the wing and dad Steve in the centres, the pair forging what would have been a lethal combination in the Sharks back line.

Born in Caringbah, Mat learned the game as a junior with the Engadine Dragons before going on to enjoy an illustrious career, one that would see him become a dual-code international, representing both the Kangaroos and Wallabies.

However, despite the heights his career would climb to, Rogers remembers fondly his eight seasons at the Sharks.

“I spent my formative years at the Sharks and matured as a player here, which set me on a path to an amazing career,” Rogers began.

“I look back on my career and I must say the eight years I had at the Sharks were probably the best years I had. There was a unique dynamic in our squad, we were all great mates, had a great time together and a great eight years.”

Possessing the ability to play wing, fullback, centre or five eighth, Rogers became a standout for the Sharks following his debut in 1995, scoring 75 tries in 123 appearances.

Also a prolific goal kicker, Rogers would eclipse some of the point-scoring records of his legendary father, most notably the mark of 26 in one match coming from a three try, seven goal effort against Newcastle in 2000.

He also scored four tries in a match back in 1995, 18 tries and 212 points in 23 games in 2000, a tally that sits third on the club records, while he couldn’t quite go past his father in total points for the club with 1112, his total sitting second on the Sharks all-time list.

Earning selection for the Kangaroos and Queensland Origin team before leaving the Sharks in 2001 to play rugby union, Rogers would go on to play 45 Tests for the Wallabies, as well as 40 matches for the NSW Waratahs.

He returned to rugby league and the Gold Coast in 2007, playing 77 games over five seasons for the Titans.

But despite being well travelled in his footballing career, Rogers doesn’t need any reminding as to where his heart lies.

“You cut me and I bleed black, white and blue,” Rogers admitted.

Joining his dad Steve as a legend of the Sharks and a favourite amongst the fans, Mat Rogers followed in some famous footsteps and carved out his own special piece of history in his time at the Cronulla club.