Piki Rogers is on track for an Intrust Super Cup finals campaign for Norths after a journey unlike any in the Devils’ long history.
Rogers took the long road to Bishop Park, leaving Sydney early last year when Covid began taking a hold across the country.
He rushed to the Gold Coast to reunite with partner Madison before the Queensland border and the 2020 Intrust Super Cup season were closed.
With no football to play, Rogers bided his time before turning out for the Coomera Crushers in the Gold Coast rugby union competition last year. He played inside centre and was among the finalists for the competition’s player of the year.
When the Intrust Super Cup returned for 2021, Rogers took the advice of Madison’s brother Carne Doyle-Manga – a former Devil – and headed to Norths.
It was good family advice because Rogers, 25, has been impressive for the Devils this year, with his beard and his skill making him easy to spot in the mobile forward pack.
“I’ve really enjoyed playing at Norths and learning a lot here with these guys and Ro (coach Rohan Smith),” Rogers said.
“There’s a good vibe around the club and there is a feeling that everyone plays for each other and that keeps us focused and wanting to improve.”
Rogers was raised in Auckland, the oldest of five children. He played rugby league because it was “the sport down the road from our place” – the Manurewa Marlins were close to the Rogers’ family home.
Talent scouts began to take note of Rogers when he reached the Under 16s and he came to Australia two years later to try his luck in the youth ranks of Sydney’s senior clubs.
He received a three-year contract from the Sydney Roosters to play with their SG Ball and Under 20 squads before heading to Canterbury.
His NSW Cup debut came with the North Sydney Bears before two seasons with Wentworthville ahead of the Covid shutdown.
“I’ve enjoyed playing different roles over the years but it was good to move to the Devils,” Rogers said.
“It’s been a great change for me. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It can be daunting going to a new club but I’ve only ever felt welcomed here.
“My personal goal was to make the team for Round 1 so it was good to get that done but there’s bigger team goals that I want to be part of.”
Rogers has become a popular Devil with the Bishop Park crowds with his beard and smile – and energetic play in the pack – making fans take notice.
He made his intentions known from Round 1 with a bone-rattling tackle on a Brisbane Tigers backrower drawing groans of sympathy from Tigers fans in the stands.
The Tigers are back on Rogers’ radar this Saturday night when they travel to Bishop Park for the Round 15 clash for the Black and White Cabs Cup.