Rocca still harbours AFL finals dream - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rocca still harbours AFL finals dream

By Adam Cooper 20/04/2006 07:53:28 PM Comments (0)

Kangaroos full-forward Saverio Rocca will consider extending his AFL career if it means he can fulfil his elusive dream of playing in a winning finals side.

Rocca is poised to play his 250th game on Sunday, against West Coast in Canberra, but is far from playing out time, as he has a couple of burning desires left despite having made his debut as a 17-year-old for Collingwood in 1992.

One is to play 100 games for his second club - he has played 93 for the Kangaroos after 156 for the Magpies.

But the second, more pressing objective is to be a part of a successful September side, as the only three finals Rocca has played - two with Collingwood in the early 1990s and last year's elimination final to Port Adelaide with the Roos - were losses.

"When I started playing I wanted to play in a premiership and in 15 years I've only played in three losing finals games, so that's something I'm not too happy about at the moment," he said.

"I want to play in a winning finals game and that's my main aim, I don't want to leave the game not having played in a successful finals campaign."

After two big back-to-back losses, the Kangaroos are at long odds to reach the 2006 finals on form and grant Rocca his wish.

But the big forward indicated he would delay his post-football dreams of travelling with his wife and two sons, managing restaurants and even pursuing a punting career in the NFL if he felt he had another one-year contract in him.

"I've had the same agreement with (coach) Dean (Laidley) over the last three years, that I'm only on a one-year contract and if I feel my body and mind can go on for another year, I'll push for it and then he'll decide whether he wants it from a team perspective," the 32-year-old said.

Although not celebrated as one of the game's most prolific full-forwards, Rocca's record is enviable.

He has booted 734 career goals (including six against the Magpies last Monday despite a heavy loss), which puts him 14th on the list of all-time goalkickers and within range of the top 10.

In his time at Collingwood, he booted nine goals in the famous drawn 1995 clash against Essendon and his trademark is his thumping kicking.

As a true colossus - Rocca tips the scales at 112kg, which makes him the second-biggest AFL-listed player, behind only Fremantle man-mountain Aaron Sandilands - he has begrudgingly accepted that today's footballer is more an athletic, midfielder-type.

But he believed there was still a place for big blokes like him.

"The way that the AFL's making the game, so much of a running game, it might be hard," he said.

"But you're always going to get your big guys up forward and your big ruckmen as well."

At least Rocca cherishes last year's finals loss to Port for one reason: his wife Rose gave birth to the couple's second son.

"I pretty much left my smiles until I left the club," Rocca recalled of his post-game trip to the hospital.

"Once I got to the hospital it was a special day and it has been since."

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