With the odds stacked against him making a career out of football, and despite an injury-hampered rise in first-grade rugby league, Ian Roberts was widely acclaimed as the best front-rower in the world in the late eighties. There was acrimony and even bomb threats when he left his humble working-class South Sydney surrounds to play with the 'silvertail' club Manly in 1989, a move that made him league's highest player ever at the time.
Three years later he was broke and broken.
By 1995, having once again overcome insurmountable odds, and amidst further controversy, he signed with Rupert Murdoch's Super League, while seeing out his commitment to the ARL flagship club Manly. That year he was almost crippled with a knee injury, but played through to the grand final.
At the same time he became arguably the world's first high-profile sportsman to voluntarily confirm his much-rumoured homosexuality, subjecting himself once again to the litany of abuse that has seemed to follow his every move. This time, however, there was the acclaim and certainty that he had done great good and that right was on his side. And with that knowledge, and the support of scores of admirers and mentors, came the peace and happiness that had eluded Ian for so long.
This is his story, told extensively in his own words and those of his friends, family and team-mates, the story of an ordinary man with an extraordinary talent and the courage to finally live his life honestly.
- Publication Date:
- 06 / 02 / 1998
- 151 x 234mm