Few players have achieved as much as MAT ROGERS has in both League and Union Rugby
Mat retired from Rugby League in October of 2011 after taking the Titans to that year’s nail biting NRL preliminary final. Few players have achieved as much as Mat has in both League and Union Rugby, with 8 years with the Cronulla Sharks, 4 years with the Gold Coast Titans, 3 year playing State of Origin rugby league, and five years representing the New South Wales Waratahs and Australian Wallabies. It is very hard to hide when you’re as famous at Mat Rogers and since retiring from football Mat is a regular on TV shows, motivational speaking events and giving back to the community through the charity Mat and his wife Chloe Maxwell founded in 2009 called 4ASDKids - which was founded after their son Max was diagnosed with Autism. Mat is devoted husband to his wife Chloe, one of Australia’s best-loved models and television personalities. The couples family includes Phoenix, Max and Mat’s older children Jack and Skyla and they live on the beautiful Gold Coast, Australia where Mat grew up as a child.
Rob: Day one, ground zero, filming Maxing Out here with Mat Rogers, Mat we’ll start with the basics, how old are you?
Mat: I am 42 years young
Rob: 42 years young and where do you live?
Mat: I live on the Gold Coast, been there for last 11 years now
Rob: What do you love about the Gold Coast?
Mat: Oh what's not to love? It’s so diverse; you know five minutes here you’re in the most beautiful rainforest and hinterland then five minutes the other way you're on the best beaches in the world and you know we've got great restaurants and cafes and shopping precincts you know that’s just amazing.
Rob: So normally getting to know people you get to know the nicknames, have you got a nickname we should be aware of?
Mat: I do and that nickname is Rat.
Rob: How did that come about?
Mat: The PG version is someone said I looked like a rat, someone overheard it and that's stuck since I was 17 years old.
Rob: You’ve had it for a while. You've had a pretty long football career tell us a bit about your football career.
Mat: I had a great career from a time perspective, 17 years of traveling the world and playing the game I loved in Rugby League and Rugby Union. I started out at Cronulla, my dad's old club and then I got to hang out with the Wallabies 5 years and travel around the world playing in places like Italy, South America and the UK, it was just amazing I got to play in the Rugby World Cup and then fortunately for me, I grew up on the Gold Coast so when the Gold Coast Titans formed I got the opportunity to come back and be a foundation member of that Club so I got to come back to the place I love and I wanted to retire at and got to finish my sporting career on the Gold Coast, I’ve been here ever since and I love it.
Rob: That’s a lot to cram into a football career, there's so much in there, have you got any highlights that you think is worth sharing?
Mat: Highlights, a whole lot of my career there's many but there are a few things that really stick in my mind and it's when I first got picked to play for Australia in rugby league, my dad captained Australian rugby league, I remember looking through the books in years gone by and how many father and sons had played for Australia and there was bugger all and I just thought it was stacked against me so it was a real big goal of mine to tick that box, I remember when I got picked it was just such a relief and such a joy to be able to put on that Australian Jersey and then went on to win a World Cup in rugby league which is probably another highlight.
Obviously playing a rugby world cup was pretty special but I would say you know when you lose a world cup in double overtime to our archenemy England it was a bit of a lowlight to be honest that loss (laughs)
Rob: So a lot of people know you as Mat Rogers the football player, I know you as Mat Rogers the family man, tell us a bit about your family.
Mat: I've got 4 beautiful kids, well 2 of them aren’t kids anymore,
2 of them are 21 and 18 and I have 2 younger children 11 and 10, beautiful wife Chloe, who you know although has achieved a lot in her careers through modeling and TV and all that sort of stuff I'd say she's the best mum on the planet you know I mean I'm probably biased but we've been through a lot with our kids and particularly with Max who's Autistic, the way that she's held the family together and without her I don't think our family would be as tight as it is.
I love the environment that we've created, I love the support that we give each other and I love the way that the family rally behind each other at times of struggle.
Rob: 4 kids, there’s a lot going on, how would you kids describe you?
Mat: How would my kids describe me? They know when they're in trouble, I think that would say I’m fair but I think they'd also say that I'm hard, I’m loving and caring as well, I'm a….
Rob: Bit of a softie?
Mat: Yeah I'm definitely a bit of a softie and the girls know that probably the boys don't get it as much as the girls (laughs)
Rob: So in 2009 you started 4ASDKids, tell us a bit of the backstory on 4ASDKids, why you started it up?
Mat: We started 4ASDKids a long time ago now it's been 9 years that we've been operating and it was born out of a real need in the community. When Max was diagnosed with autism we were really searching for answers, we didn't have any idea of what to do we were fortunate enough that in our area there was a school that was specifically designed for children with Autism, an early intervention program that would help them develop and integrate into mainstream school, we found that through an Autism adviser and we applied and we got in, there was a two-year wait list and we got in and I was blown away and I sat with the owner of the school and I said ‘why are we here when there was a two-year waitlist?’ she said ‘we've interviewed everyone before you and they can't come in because it's too expensive for them so they can't afford it’
3 months down the track Maxie was a different child, it was amazing the change that we'd seen and we were just heartbroken at the fact that could you imagine being one of those parents that didn't have access to this because of money? So we thought well we could raise some money we could use our celebrity for the powers of good and we could raise some funds and see that money go towards families that are in need.
Rob: You've helped a lot of families, you’ve raised over $2million dollars through 4ASDKids in the last 9 years, about a year ago we talked about what we could do next with 4ASDKids and how we take it to the next level so I've been working on this TV show for over a year, tell us a bit about the TV show
Mat: The show was born out of our conversation in relation to how we could grow this and scale this to something we can reach more people the ultimate goal is to reach more people, not so they know about us, it's just so we can help people and having the opportunity to I guess mirror the journey that we have with Max from the beginning to where we are now with the journey of someone that's trying to achieve something it just seems so hard.
When we racked our brains and we thought about it, we thought, if we could follow someone who's never done an iron distance triathlon or something like that.
I just I know what I felt like when I finished it, there was so much adulation and joy, I thought we could mirror that journey, I know what it was like for us with Max, we had no idea in the beginning, we were like ‘how do we even do this?’ ‘what's the next step to take?’ but now we're like how good is it, Max is the most amazing little boy, we have such a great time with him.
Maxing Out was born, we're going to Max Out someone's belief in what they think they can achieve, put an amazing team of people around them and get them through it and at the end they’re just going to be going ‘how good is this’ and you know I think it's going to be a great journey.
Rob: We've both done numerous iron distance triathlons you've done 5 of them, they're not an easy thing, how do you think the guys are going to cope with this?
Mat: An iron distance triathlon is a brutal day out and it's not just the day out itself, it's actually getting yourself to the start line, so they're in for it, they've got a lot of work ahead, but I got to say in terms of a physical feat to achieve something like this I can't think of anything that I've done that even comes close to it and to give me the sense of achievement once I’d finished it, so I'm excited for them, I'm excited to be on the journey with them, but they are going to know that they've got a lot of work ahead and it's not going to be easy simple.
Rob: You learn a lot about yourself doing an iron distance event what do you think will be going through their head on the day?
Mat: What will be going through their head on the day is ‘can I do this?’ there’ll be doubts, there'll be fears, there'll be all sorts of things that will go through their head and that's why it's really important to have a team of people around you when you're going through the challenges, be it physical like they're going to go through or mental or you know any of those things, you know when you've got a good group of people around you can get through pretty much anything, so I think as much as they're going to doubt that they can do it, I think they're going to surprise themselves and they're going to be real proud of what they achieve in the end.
Rob: So we're doing this for a purpose, we've put 4ASDkids there in front of them to say ‘you're not doing this just for yourself, this is bigger than yourself’ we put them on camera how do you think that's going to impact them?
Mat: I think it's important that that we also understand what this is about it's about for 4ASD kids and its about sending a message out to everybody that with the right people around you can get through the challenges in your life.
For us you know when we get through the challenges with Max we didn't do it on our own, we had a team of people that supported us, loved us, helped us and when we didn't have the answer could answer questions for us, Max's therapist, the school, his friends, our friends and we want to build that sort of team of people around the athletes in the show, so that you know they can understand and they can send a message out that ‘hey you know what, we didn't think we could do it, but we did it ‘ and you know for 4ASDkids is at the center of all of that.
Rob: Importantly you've done 5, you're pretty handy as a long distance triathlete, but your wife is doing her first and she's training hard, how do you think she's going to go against you on the 1st of July - how's that going to play out?
Mat: Well I'll tell you, my wife is a fighter, so when she gets in her head that she's going to do something you know, get out of her way and don't tell her she can't, that's for sure, so she hasn't got it in her head that she can do it yet, that’s the challenge and that's what it's all about, it's about trying to overcome those. On the day I’m hoping that by the time we get there that mindset has changed, if it hasn't it could be a tough day out.
Rob: So when she passes you on the bike you expect to get out of her way
Mat: I'm thinking I might just be supporting her on the bike (laughs)
Rob: That's awesome mate, thanks Mat cool.
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Maxing out is a TV and Web documentary that follows well known celebrities on a journey to their first ever Iron Distance Triathlon - Swimming 3.8km, Riding 180km and Running a 42.2km marathon, all within 15 hours on one day in July 2018 . This is a documentary to mirror the struggle of everyday challenges dealing with a child with Autism as we endeavour to raise much needed funds and awareness for Autism Spectrum disorder. 4 ASD KIDS does incredible things in this to help families impacted by Autism and we are putting our athletes through this challenge to be able to help more of these families.
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