How Rocket Rod transformed into Sgt Silva

Story appeared in: Review | March 13th, 2018

ALTHOUGH it's been almost 20 years since "Rocket" Rod Silva played professional rugby league, the 51-year-old police officer continues to be recognised by Bulldogs fans.
Sgt Rod Silva is a familiar sight on the Bankstown rail line, taking in stations such as Lidcombe, Berala, Regents Park, Birrong and Sefton.
He is part of a team who uphold law and order, as part of the NSW Police Transport Command.
"Occasionally Bulldogs fans come up and say 'g'day'," he said.
"I enjoy that part of the job. Although the older I get, the older the fans seem to get," he said.
The former professional indigenous footballer initially played for the Sydney Roosters from 1988 to 1994. He was named Daly M Fullback of the Year in 1993.
In 1995, Phil Gould joined the Roosters as coach and moved Silva to reserve grade, ultimately cutting him from the team.
In the middle of the 1995 season, Sgt Silva joined the Bulldogs where he remained until his retirement in 2001. He took the fullback position, ultimately scoring the final try for the Dogs in their grand final win against Manly in 1995.
The Bulldogs, he said, gave him the flexibility needed to pursue a career in the police force.
"I always wanted to be a cop. The Bulldogs were great, they gave me that opportunity," he said.
"I knew rugby league wasn't forever."
Proud of his Aboriginal heritage, Sgt Silva was encouraged to become involved in Koori football about six years ago, by veteran NSWRL Indigenous Programs coordinator, Steve Hall. He recently coached a NSWRL Koori Nines side to victory in the Cabramatta International Nines tournament. He has also been involved in the "Survival Tournament" - an indigenous rugby league competition.
"It gives me great pleasure guiding young footballers towards the same opportunities I had in my playing career," he said.
Silva is believed to be the last of the pedigree of NRL players who also worked as police officers.

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Publication: Review | Section: news | Author: Mark Kirkland | Story ID: 135481 | Viewcount: 7999