When we first approached Mat Rogers to be in The Cutthroat Journal, he said yes…. but under one condition. He wanted us to do the interview on the Gold Coast’s Broadbeach at Gold’s Barber (see review on page 36) where he gets his hair cut regularly by Dave, his man groomer and his mate. Do we love that or what? Straight away our long held feelings on Mat Rogers seemed to be confirmed. This guy is a legend.
You get a sense that Mat was always destined to be an elite athlete. He attended The Southport School, a boarding school in Queensland as a teenager, where he excelled in Rugby Union. He also played in the Australian Schoolboys representative team. It was while he was attending the school that Mat developed his taste for tattoos. It was his last week of year 12 when he revealed to one of his house masters, a husband and wife team that Mat still keeps in contact with, his first tattoo. The house master refused to believe it was real at first, until he got her to try and rub it off. ‘She was horrified’, he says laughing, ‘she was saying ‘you’re parents are going to kill me!’. It was the first of many tattoos, he’s covered in them. But, like many of us, he’s a bit disappointed they’ve gone so mainstream. ‘No one had them when I was playing league, now you look like the odd one out if you don’t have tatts’.
His professional career started in rugby league with the Cronulla Sharks, the club his father Steve had played for. He was there for 8 years, and although they didn’t go to a premiership in that time, they were golden years. His highlight from those years? ‘I scored 26 points in a game and I equalled my dads points record. He (Steve) was a football manager at the time and he was on the sideline and was blowing up because back in his day tries were only worth 3 points. So he scored 2 tries and kicked 10 goals. They kicked off and kicked it out on the full and I was like ‘give me a shot at goal, I want a shot at goal.’ But the message came out no, take the tap, I’m pretty sure my dad had something to do with that’ he jokes. ‘Always a bit of fun between he and I, always competitive.’ (Mat’s dad sadly passed away in 2006).
Mat’s career also includes dual international status in league and Union and numerous state of origin jerseys. ‘There are things that happened that were just moments in time you know,’ he says ‘like playing the rugby world cup or when I kicked a field goal in my first origin and it won us the game’. We know Mat, we know. Like we said, you’re a legend.
So now he just takes it easy and relaxes, a quiet run and maybe a relaxing bike ride every now and then. Hold up….this is Mat Rogers we’re talking about! Just the day before we met with him Mat had ridden a whopping 175 km on his bike, solo, in preparation for an upcoming triathlon. Yes people, he’s now into triathlon.
In his spare (cough) time, Mat also started up a charity with his wife, model and TV presenter Chloe Maxwell, called 4asdkids. They started the charity after their son, Max, was diagnosed with low functioning autism and their experiences in the aftermath of that. ‘It nearly cost us $120,000 over 3 years for his treatment. He is now high functioning and in a mainstream school but it came at a price. We thought this should be available to everyone. We’re just trying to do our bit to raise money and fund kids into those programs. We sponsor a lot of kids, we actually just finished a $200000 refurbishment on the Burleigh Heads Special Education Development Unit. It’s a Government facility but they don’t put any money into it. It’s where we first went after Max’s diagnosis. If you’re given a diagnosis up here, QLD health finds out and then Autism QLD contact you and refer you to this unit. It (Max’s diagnosis) was the most depressing day of my life. Not only were we struggling with what we were going through with Max but we got sent to the biggest shithole you’ve ever seen. There was paint coming off the walls, the people were amazing but it was like, is this it? And it probably doesn’t affect the kids as much as it affects the parents and the teachers because kids can cope. We wanted to create an environment and a space where people can sit there and talk with each other, a parents and technology hub. A place where the teachers can feel proud to go to work and think ‘we’re making a difference here.’ We just gutted the whole joint and made it brand new, Its amazing.’ (for more info visit www.4asdkids.com).
Anyone else feel like a nap? It’s exhausting just thinking about everything Mat fits into his life, but pretty bloody inspiring right? Mat Rogers, The Cutthroat Journal salutes you. Legend status: confirmed.