My Souths Story - Rodger Corser
Converting an AFL fan into a rugby league supporter is no easy feat. It can take hours, sometimes years of convincing, and even then, the person can not be fully convinced. They'll say they support a rugby league team, but they'll struggle to name more than a few players and often be unable to rattle off last week's result.
The same cannot be said for Australian actor Rodger Corser, a self-confessed Hawthorn supporter who made the move from Melbourne back in 1998-1999 to Sydney. As the South Sydney Rabbitohs went through the turmoil of being expelled from the competition, Rodger began to take notice from the balcony of his terrace home in nearby Newtown.
"Souths had just been kicked out and it was in the news," Corser recalled.
"Being a local, I was starting to learn a lot more about it and I didn't have an allegiance for any club. I ended up coming to Redfern Oval to a rally, it was sort of a fundraising event and it was a South Sydney All-Stars versus an American team.
"I think Andrew Denton and Mario Fenech played, a bunch of guys from the 80s. I remember walking down Wilson St past the station and seeing the level of support from people in the community.
"I started talking to a few of the locals, just hearing how much the Club meant to people and how it had ripped their hearts out what had been handed down to them. Then and there I said 'if this Club gets back in this is the Club for me'.
"I think feeling the spirit of South Sydney got me."
"A couple of years later we managed to get back into the comp. My first game was the Charity Shield match and I've been a Member ever since."
After starring in a number of hit Australian dramas, Corser was given the opportunity to feature in an All-Stars Return to Redfern match in early 2010.
Playing alongside stars such as Mike Whitney and Australian race walker Jane Saville, Corser and co took on a 1989 side featuring Mario Fenech, Mark Ellison, Craig Coleman, and Les Davidson.
"I was lucky enough to play in a touch celeb game out here," he said.
"I can tell you what, Mario Fenech plays for sheep stations every time there's a game of touch on, he was not mucking around."
That day also saw South Sydney demolish the Manly Sea Eagles 42-14 in wet conditions as new recruit Sam Burgess burrowed over for his first try in Rabbitohs colours. While this caught the eye of the crowd watching, there was something else involving Burgess which Rodger was lucky enough to witness first hand.
"It was the day that Russ (Russell Crowe) presented Sam with his jersey. He took him over to the side and presented him with a Membership for his dad. Obviously, the crowd wasn't privy to what was going on but you could see how moved Sam was by that gesture." Said Corser.
"To me, that just speaks to what the Club is about."
Support, community, passion and a never say die attitude; just four basic ingredients you need to convert an AFL supporter into a Souths Member.