Mat Rogers gives rugby a miss - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mat Rogers gives rugby a miss

By Jim Morton 16/08/2010 05:21:32 PM Comments (0)

Mat Rogers passed up the chance to follow in the footsteps of fellow dual international Brad Thorn by returning to rugby next year.

Queensland Reds coach Ewen McKenzie on Monday revealed he searched the world to fill one spot left on his Super 15 roster for 2011 and Rogers was his top choice.

The 34-year-old even rang McKenzie, his former NSW Waratahs mentor, just before he announced he was hanging up his boots after 16 years at the top level of both codes.

The Reds coach tried to convince him to leave the rugby option open but to no avail.

"He called me this morning to tell me he was retiring and I told him just to announce his retirement from rugby league," McKenzie told AAP.

"You never know, in six months time, in February or January, he might be looking to do something.

"My job is to find the best solution to the Reds and I was scouring the world to find the right person to build our depth."

Former Broncos hardman Thorn is currently in career-best form for the All Blacks after switching from league to union for the second time.

While McKenzie admitted Rogers' second conversion to the 15-man code, following his late 2006 defection to the Titans, would have been politically unpalatable for some in rugby, the former 45-Test Wallabies back wouldn't have let anyone down.

"There's different sentiments about him but I always thought what you had was a guy who had played a lot of Test rugby, played every position in the backline bar halfback, has X-factor, a left-footed goalkicker - he was worth talking to," he said.

"I said to him I was looking for depth. I wasn't necessarily looking for a starting player but he said I'm not one of those blokes to sit on the bench and I said I know that."

McKenzie argued Rogers would have been the perfect flyhalf replacement if star playmaker Quade Cooper broke his leg.

Rogers said he spoke at length with McKenzie but, in the end, his body made his decision to retire before he needed to choose between the Titans and Reds.

"He's a good friend, and we entertained the fact I guess but at this stage of my career and where I am physically I just think it was never really something I would embark on," he said.

Signed by late father Steve's club Cronulla at 17 after starring in rugby as a schoolboy, Rogers said he always felt more content in league.

"I probably never felt as welcome in rugby as I have in league," he said. "But that probably goes back to my father and we're a league family, bottom line.

"Although I played rugby at school, I was still seen as a leaguey and that's fair enough. "I'm not here to bag rugby union and say league is better, I thoroughly enjoyed both codes."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

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