It is possible that suicide, not a heart attack as originally thought, claimed the life of Rugby League great Steve Rogers aged 51, last Monday. Rogers was found dead in a stairwell of the apartment block where he lived. Sutherland Shire residents were as shocked to learn of Roger’s battle with depression as they were to learn of his untimely death.
Depression sufferers often suffer in silence due to the stigma that is still attached to mental illness. Steve Rogers, despite his popularity and outward cheerful appearance was also a silent sufferer. Rogers was survived by three children, Mat, Don and Melanie and his second wife, Ingrid. It was the second loss in five years for the Rogers children. Rogers’ first wife lost her battle with cancer in 2001.
Steve Rogers was a legend in the Cronulla Sutherland Rugby League Club.
Cronulla Sutherland Rugby League Club or ‘The Sharks’ as the team became known was still a newcomer to the first grade Sydney Rugby League competition in the early seventies when Rogers began his career with the club. It fielded its first team in 1997 but remained at the bottom of the competition table for several years. Sutherland Shire residents, many of whom had previously supported St George, remained loyal throughout the difficult years.
In 1973 with the help of several new players including Steve Rogers and Greg Pierce the tide for The Sharks began to turn. That year The Sharks played in their first Grand Final. They ultimately lost to Manly in a game that was remembered for its on field brawls as much as its football but Cronulla Sutherland Leagues Club was now viable.
As a result of the 1973 season, Steve Rogers was selected to represent Australia in the Wallaby team. He was to later captain the Wallabys.
There are some locals who believe that Shark Park should be renamed The Steve Rogers Memorial Stadium, such was the level of esteem Steve Rogers was held in the “Shire’.