Adam Mogg wasn't a player who you'd identify with natural flare or the ability to bust a game wide open through pure skill. But what Mogg lacked with speed or strength on the edge was made up by a willingness to work hard and never give up.
With a debut in the NRL under his belt at the ripe age of 24, Mogg went on to prove doubters wrong, travel the world and help kick-start an eight-year Origin dynasty.
The former Parramatta and Canberra outside back spoke to NRL.com about his nine-year professional career.
Legend Q&A: Adam Mogg
You were born in Toowoomba – what was it like to grow up in rugby league heartland?
It was a typical country town upbringing and then we moved to the Sunny Coast when I was 11. The weekends you were on your bike or down at the beach. We played a lot of sport like footy, tennis and cricket. My brother started playing for the Newtown Lions so then I wanted to start playing and that's how I got involved.
You were scouted by Parramatta at 24 in 2002 – how did that come about and did you think your chances of playing in the NRL were already over?
I was at Redcliffe for five years and won the player of the Queensland competition in 2001 and the Eels offered me a match-payment contract. I packed up my car, drove down to Sydney and turned up at Parramatta with clothes in my boot and said 'I'm here to play footy'. No one knew who I was, I trained with the reserve-grade team and then got elevated into the first-grade squad. Brett Hodgson got injured at Origin and it opened up the opportunity for me to get a shot at fullback.
I went down with the sole purpose to give it my best shot. I was in a good system with Brian Smith and Hayden Knowles and it was great for me. I got faster and stronger. Without being introduced to Hayden I don't think I would've made it as far as I did. You can see with the Penrith team he's got running now, they're fit, big, fast and strong.
You played nine games for the Eels before moving south to Canberra, what happened there?
The Raiders went into a recruiting phase and were looking for a centre and that's where I saw myself playing long-term. I met Matty Elliott and he was motivated to do well and I didn't really enjoy living in Sydney so Canberra suited me. It's a great city with great people and I thought we played some good footy.
What were your best memories in that first stint?
In my first year (2003) we had a squad that went very close to winning the competition. We played a real classic semi-final against the Warriors. Stacey Jones remembers that really well, he slotted a field goal to get them home. I felt if we'd beaten them we might've won the competition that year. Everyone was in good form and we didn't have any huge superstars apart from blokes like Ruben Wiki, Luke Davico and Clinton Shifcofske, who were built on hard work. It was one we weren't far away from and it was good to start my career there with a solid season.
A lot of us remember your State of Origin call-up for Queensland in 2006 – can you recall that experience and would you have liked a few more games in a Maroons jersey?
I was training at the Raiders when the call came through and I just remember being a little shocked but excited and honoured. I took a lot of confidence out of the week training alongside guys like Darren Lockyer and Brent Tate. It was an opportunity to do something that I've wanted since I was nine years old watching on the television.
Obviously it would've been nice to get a few more games but I look back on the 2006 series as a special moment in time for Queensland. Some of the older guys like Locky, Steve Price and Petero Civoniceva were under a lot of pressure to keep their spots and we were down 1-0 in the series. It was nice to be part of something that went on to be almost a decade of dominance.
You jetted off to France in 2007 to play for the Catalan Dragons and had some success – what was that period of your career like?
The appealing thing for me was it was a new club, so to go over there and not only experience a new lifestyle but help build a club that was only one year old was a new challenge for me. In the first couple of years I felt we made a huge impact as a group, alongside guys like Jason Croker, Stacey Jones, Clint Greenshields, Aaron Gorrell and myself. We got to Wembley for the Challenge Cup final at a point where we never thought would've been possible given how inexperienced the young French players were to Super League at the time.
You returned to the Raiders in 2010, was it nice to finish in the NRL?
I missed the first six or so rounds so that was a different experience. Being an older guy when I got back I quickly realised I wasn't the most talented but David Furner was looking for experience. I hadn't been through the tough pre-season with the guys so felt I had to prove my way. They had an exciting group of young players like Josh Dugan, Jarrod Croker and even a guy like Daniel Vidot who I thought if he kept improving he could've definitely played Origin for Queensland. He was certainly a better athlete than I was and I really enjoyed playing alongside him.
I think if the club could've kept them together a bit more and added some more experience they could've done something special in the following years but it wasn't to be.
Ricky Stuart has gone in there and while it's taken him a few years I think he's built the club back up to where we all want to see the Raiders – at the top and a force every year.
You're in the middle of a successful coaching stint with the Redcliffe Dolphins – is it nice to be back to where it all started?
I spent a year at the Warriors as an assistant and that helped me when Anthony Griffin got the Penrith job a few years ago because Redcliffe called to see if I would like to replace him. We've always been a really successful footy club and I think it's been great we've been able to maintain our status as one of the better clubs in the competition. My focus now is to make sure our club is building the right people to get into the NRL and I'm excited about our coaching group who will be involved with the club next season. I think our affiliation with the Warriors will really help expose not only players to that club but other NRL clubs because they'll have to review our games every week. I think we're setting young guys up on the right path.
What does life look like away from footy for Adam Mogg?
I'm keeping busy with my lovely wife and family. We had our health club close down temporarily due to COVID-19 which wasn't ideal but it gave me an opportunity to be involved in some property things. My wife is doing great things with helping people in the gym and we're overall just making sure we're keeping ourselves busy.