Nathan Rose, a born-and-bred Wagga boy, returned home this year to join the Wagga Kangaroos as captain-coach, taking on the role for two years.
Rose left Gundagai at the end of last season after he steered them to the 2022 Group 9 premiership and was awarded the John Hill Medal for a second time, named best on field in the decisive 34-4 win against Young.
A Group 9 legend, Nay Nay (as his teammates call him) spent his earlier first-grade years at Wagga’s South City, playing in four consecutive grand finals for the Bulls and stepping up as captain-coach in 2020/21.
Rose is also a familiar figure in the annual Koori Knockout, where he played alongside his cousins Matt and former NRL forward George Rose, representing his Gamilaraay mob with the Walgett Aboriginal Connection (WAC), who won in 2014.
In addition to his current responsibilities at the Kangaroos, Nathan is also the director of the Clontarf Foundation’s newly established Kooringal Academy.
Clontarf works with young First Nations boys to improve their engagement with school and develops their discipline, self-esteem and employment prospects.
We sat down and put the champion No. 6 under the Region spotlight …
Where are you from and where did you first start playing footy?
Born and raised in Wagga Wagga. Played at Turvey Park Wanderers from under 7s to 15s.
Best footy memory?
Can’t beat playing in the Koori Knockout with your family.
Favourite player as a kid and why?
Johnathan Thurston. I loved the way he played the game. He seemed to control the game really well and his kicking game was unreal.
Favourite childhood meal you can remember?
Favourite ground to play on and why?
I used to love playing at Allan Staunton Oval and Eric Weissel Oval as a kid, but both have been knocked down.
Why should young kids take up rugby league?
Because it’s the best sport in the world!
Do you have a celebrity lookalike?
Latest one I’ve heard is Daniel Ricciardo.
What annoys you?
Slow drivers (Author’s note – “Daniel Ricciardo much?”)
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Lead with actions, not words.
On a car trip from the Region to Sydney, who would you NOT want in the passenger seat?
Cody Hodge (Nathan’s cousin and former South City Bulls and WAC teammate). He would eat and talk that much rubbish and be on the punt the whole way.
Any person (dead or alive) you WOULD want in the passenger seat?
Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Muhammad Ali. Any big sporting icon would be good.
Down to your last $20 – what would you spend it on?
KFC or coffee.