Nathan Friend one of the best: Rogers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Nathan Friend one of the best: Rogers

By Jim Morton 16/08/2010 04:43:57 PM Comments (0)

Mat Rogers has played with a galaxy of stars in his 16 years at the top level of rugby league and union but identified blue-collar Titan Nathan Friend as the man he admired most.

Such is Friend's reputation as a major club pest, the retiring dual international found it hard to deliver the huge wrap for the hard-working Gold Coast hooker.

"It's hard for me to say this but the most professional is Nathan Friend," Rogers said. "His desire is just unbelievable in everything he does - on the field and off the field.

"He can be a little painful at times."

Rogers, who played well above his own weight of 87kg, reserved similar plaudits for his former Wallabies skipper George Gregan and similarly diminutive Titans livewire Preston Campbell.

"All the little fellas," the former Kangaroos, Maroons, Sharks, Wallabies and Waratahs back said on Monday.

"Phil Waugh was probably the toughest bloke I played with, he was unbelievable, and then there's Luke Bailey, that guy is just something else, he just goes and goes."

While Rogers made his name as an elusive and creative attacker in 194 NRL games, Titans coach John Cartwright said the 34-year-old's toughness was unfairly under-rated.

"At one stage of the year he had to mark up on (powerful centres) Jamal Idris, Tony Williams and Israel Folau back-to-back-to-back," he said.

"Not one of those opponents got the better of him."

Rogers' teammates tried to convince the utility back to play on for one more year.

But he felt it would be unfair to drag his decision out and put extra pressure on the club during a play-off campaign.

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