Rooke shows Cats he is just as good as his dad said he wasMonday, April 22
Geelong Advertiser

GEELONG supporters learned a lot about third-gamer Jarad Rooke early in the second half of yesterday's mauling of St Kilda.

Rooke ran backwards into the path of a bullocking Stewart Loewe on a lead and the bone-jarring collision knocked both players to the ground.

Loewe won the free, but Rooke won the admiration of Geelong fans and teammates.

``He's just amazing,'' Cats vice-captain Peter Riccardi said later. ``Being a second-year player, some guys will step out of the way but he took the lot.''

Rooke found his way to Geelong after his dad, John, sent some persuasive letters to the club, urging recruiting scouts to look at his son.

``He is from Casterton and I don't know why we picked him,'' coach Mark Thompson joked after yesterday's match.

``His dad just kept writing to the recruiting officer and we finally sat down and watched his tape.

``We saw all these results about what he's done and how fast he could run and we thought if he can do this we had better have a look at him.

``He was playing senior footy up at Casterton and he looked all right.

``He was centre half-forward and kept coming out and taking marks.''

Rooke was invited to pre-season training last year, was added to the rookie list and played the season in the VFL.

This year he was promoted to the senior list, becoming the first player from Casterton since Russell Johnston at Collingdhwood in 1980 to make the big league.

Rooke looks like he will have no trouble bettering Johnston's record of eight senior games.

He kept the Saints' leading goalkicker Stephen Milne to just one goal yesterday, showing great poise in the back half.

Nobody was prouder of the 20-year-old than his dad, who was there to watch the game.

While Rooke owes much of the credit for his place on the Cats list to his dad, he admits the early PR work left him a little embarrassed.

``I guess I was a little bit embarrassed but I thought I'd just leave him to it,'' he said.

``It was his little thing and I think he enjoyed doing it. If something happened I thought good, but I didn't worry about it too much.''