22 August 2015, Pattersons Stadium, Perth, Australia
Transcript begins at 3.28
So at 25 I was washed up. My career was finished, and I didn’t know how to deal with it, you wish you could play footy forever, when it’s taken away from you at a young age you don’t know what to do with yourself.
So I decided to take off overseas, as Bevo said, I went and lived over in Egypt, completely different world, completely different environment, it gave me a chance to escape footy, the thing I loved most in life.
When I was over there, I got some tragic news that my brother had passed away. I actually got the news two weeks after he’d died. I was cruising around Iran, no internet, no telephone coverage or anything like that, for me it was quite a real shock, to find out my brother had died, he was my idol, the person I looked up to most in my life.
I didn’t know what to do with myself because I was going to miss his funeral. That was obviously shattering for a young man -- not being there for my family, to support them, and not being able to say goodbye to my brother.
So I thought what could I do to symbolise my love and my respect for him. And so I phone up my dad, and I got him to get my jumper, my rookie jumper, the one that I’d played 24 games in, and I thought the most symbolic thing I could do, or gesture for my brother was to get him to wear that jumper to the grave.
So they buried Steve with my number eight, and that’s with him for eternity.
That jumper meant the world to me. It was the most sacred thing that I had, my most treasured belonging, and so it’s with him resting for an eternity now.
So that’s what the jumper meant to me, Roarke, And good luck for you tomorrow mate. Hopefully you have a long and distinguished career. Enjoy the moment. It’s the one time in your life you get to debut, and enjoy it with your teammates, and I’m sure the elder statesman are going to show you the ropes, mate.
And hopefully you blokes can continue your good form this year.
Good luck with all. Hopefully you get another flag for the Bulldogs, and yeah, I’ll want to be there to help you blokes celebrate.
So thanks for having me today, mate. Number 37 Roarke! I’m going to hand it over.