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A Couple Of Good Lookin’ Roosters… Boyd Cordner & Aidan Guerra

By Dan Hutton on June 30, 2013 in People

Photo: Andrew Goldie (www

Photo: Andrew Goldie (www

This month The Beast catches up with two rising Roosters Stars, Boyd Cordner and Aidan Guerra…

Where are you boys originally from?
Boyd: I’m from Old Bar, a coastal town on the mid north coast.
Aidan: I grew up in Townsville, North Queensland.

Where are you living these days?
B: I’m living with some good family friends in Mascot at the moment. I moved down here when I was 16 and I’ve been living there ever since. I’ve got it pretty good. I’m not looking to move out any time soon.
A: I’m just in Coogee. When I first came down here I stayed in Coogee for a bit and then went down to Maroubra but now I’m back in Coogee.

When did you move to the Eastern Suburbs?
B: I moved down when I was 16 when signed with the Roosters and I’m loving it.

How old are you now?
B: I just turned 21.

When did you move down here Aidan?
A: I moved here the end of 2009.

Where were you before that?
A: I moved here from Melbourne. I had two years down at Melbourne with the Storm. It’s a bit of a coastal change, I guess you’d call it.

What do you love about living in the Eastern Suburbs?
B: The lifestyle’s pretty good. With all the free time we have it’s just good to get down and relax at the beach. It’s got everything. It’s pretty laid back and you’ve got the city just a five- or ten-minute drive away so it’s close to everything.
A: I love the fact that it’s like the coastal lifestyle right by the city. Everything’s within a stone’s throw. I don’t even like swimming; I just like the lifestyle.

Can you boys surf?
B: No. I tried when I was younger back at home but I probably haven’t surfed in about four years or five years.

Is the Roosters just a big coffee club?
A: No, we work hard, but when we get our days off we definitely like to hang around at the cafes.

And what’s your coffee of choice?
A: Double shot latte.

What about the piccolo latte that you’ve got there in front of you?
A: That would be because I’ve already had a double shot today.

Is there anything that gets your goat about life in the Eastern Suburbs?
B: Not really. I suppose it’s just as good as anywhere else.
A: I don’t like parking rangers. They get me all the time.

Down at Coogee?
A: Yeah, all the time. We don’t have parking at our apartment so sometimes you’ve got to park in the ‘no stopping’ area around the corner and they always just go hunting in the mornings.

What do you reckon your annual bill for parking fines is?
B: Up over $1,000.
A: Yeah, it would be up between $1,000 and $2,000.

You’ll have to factor in piccolo lattes and parking fines when you renegotiate your contract…
A: Unfortunately the salary cap doesn’t allow for that.

You blokes obviously play first grade footy; do you get recognised in the street very often?
B: You get the odd Roosters supporter but other than that, you only get noticed if you’re hanging around Mitchell Pearce or someone like that.
A: I enjoy being able to walk down the street unnoticed.

At what age did you realise that you could make a career out of rugby league?
B: It’s all I ever wanted to do when I was a kid but it was probably when I was around 15 and making all the schoolboy rep sides and I signed my first little deal with the Knights that I thought I could make a go of it.
A: I was always pretty cruisey about footy growing up. It wasn’t until I was halfway through Grade 12 and one of my teachers told me to pull my head in and I might be able to have a shot. I didn’t really believe it until I got a chance down at Melbourne to prove myself and measure myself against first graders.

Did either of you have a back up plan if things didn’t work out with footy?
A: No.

B: Nothing.

No trades or anything?
B: No, I’d probably be good on the shovel, and I’d be good at sitting at a pub sucking down schooners too.

Were there any other sports that you excelled at growing up?
A: Boydie’s pretty handy with a cricket bat.
B: I used to play like heaps of sports when I was young but obviously footy was the overruling one. Maybe if I knuckled down at something else I could’ve done well but I don’t know if I would have made a career out of any other sport.
A: I played touch when I was growing but up but there’s not too much money in that.

What about like any other hidden skills like, I don’t know, can you play the guitar or do anything?
B: Aiden’s a good singer. He might be able to sing you something.

What’s been different at the Roosters in 2013 that’s helped lead to your great start to the year?
A: We’ve acquired some pretty good players, everyone knows that, and we’re building towards having a really good culture at the club. I think the main secret behind our success is that everyone’s on board.
B: ‘Change’ is probably the key word there. We’ve got new coaching staff, or new staff in general, and they’re driving a really strong culture at the club and it’s starting to rub off.
A: Everyone knows what direction we want to head in and everyone’s on board.

Is there a real belief amongst the team that you can win a premiership this year?
B: Yeah, one hundred percent. At the start of the year you don’t like to talk about the grand final or the finals even but all in all what you play footy for is to win a comp. Obviously it’s there in our minds and we’ve got a really good opportunity with the way we started the season. I don’t know about Aiden but I would love nothing more than to win a comp. We might do it this year; we’ve got the right tools.
A: In saying that we’re not counting our chickens just yet. We know we’ve got a long way to go, a lot of hard work in front of us, but yeah, there’s definitely a belief there that if a lot of things go right for us then we’ll hopefully be up there.

Who do you reckon is the biggest threat of the premiership?
B: Obviously Melbourne and Manly are strong, but I reckon Souths are probably deserved favourites at the moment.
A: Yeah, they had a big culture change last year and they look like they’re a club that’s working in that direction. And they’ve got some very strong, big boys. I don’t think Melbourne’s run has necessarily finished but I think Souths are the team to beat at the moment.

Who do you think has had a bigger impact at the club this year: your new recruits or your head coach Trent Robinson?
B: I reckon head coach, For sure.
A: Yeah, the coach. He’s brought us all together and got everyone on the same page. Obviously the new recruits have added something too but I think without Trent there to steer the ship we wouldn’t be going as well as we are.

He’s the youngest coach in the NRL; do you reckon his youth has helped the younger blokes like you two?
B: Yeah, he’s played the game before too so he’s got a really good understanding of what we’re going through at different stages of the season. He’s really approachable as well. If something’s on your mind you wouldn’t be afraid to go up and speak to him about it.
A: Although he’s young he’s still got a bit of an old school approach as well at times. He’s got that balance there between the new school and the old school.

Did you guys get on well with your former coach, Brian Smith?
B: Yeah, I got on pretty well with Smithy. He’s a really good bloke and he’s an unreal coach. He’s had a really good career. I didn’t have any dramas with him at all.
A: We had a patchy sort of relationship at the start but we ironed it all out and by the end of it we actually got along pretty well.

He gets a bit of stick in the media; do you reckon it’s deserved or do you reckon they’re a bit harsh on him?
A: He has his certain ways and I think some people buy into that and there are some personalities he clashes with. The media built it up that there was more ill feeling there at the Roosters than what there really was last year.

When you found out the Roosters had signed Sonny Bill Williams were you excited or were you just worried about your position in the team?
B: I was probably more excited than anything. What he brings to a team, he’s just a superstar. I grew up watching him and I was a massive fan so to meet him in person was really exciting.
A: I was shitting myself.

A: Yeah. We’ve got a few people at the Roosters that play the same position at the same sort of level and I struggled a bit with it at first, but I knew that if everything went to plan and I trained hard then I’d give myself the best shot.

Do you reckon you guys have lifted your game because of having Sonny Bill there?
B: I don’t know. I suppose everyone’s lifted their game this year.
A: I’ve had to change my role in the team a bit, which has been a bit of a challenge for me but it’s coming along now. It has made me work harder because I’ve had to change the way that I play the game.

How have you had to change your role?
A: I’ve gone from like an edge back rower and now I’m coming off the bench in the middle as more of a lock. When Boydie comes off I go on. It’s a completely different game in the middle there.

Do you prefer it like your new role?
A: I don’t know. I’ve got to embrace it; I don’t really have a choice. I enjoy it as long as I’m out on the field.

How hard is Sonny Bill to go up against in training?
B: Pretty hard. He’s a pretty competitive bloke. Everything he does, he hates to lose, and he’s tough; he’s a big boy. When you’re wrestling him it’s not that easy.
A: I just try to stay on the other side of the field.

You’re a Queenslander Aidan and Boyd is the former NSW Under 20s captain; do you reckon you will ever come up against each other in a State of Origin clash?
B: I hope so.

Is that still a dream for both of you?
A: Yeah, that’s still the pinnacle. Maybe I’d have to throw a few elbows.

What do you think about Kiwi players wanting to play State of Origin?
B. No go. Not a fan at all. Go make your own comp.
A: Yeah, I’m with Boydie.

There are quite a few Kiwis at the Roosters; how do they feel at this time of the year?
A: They just go for whoever’s winning, mate.
B: They chop and change.

Do you reckon the Blues are a chance this year?
A: They’ve got to be coming close. Surely they’re due.
B: I actually do think they’ve got a genuine chance this year. They’ve been close in the last couple of years and I think there was only a point in it last year, so it is going to be close this year.

Is there any harder bloke to tackle in the NRL than Greg Inglis?
A: No.
B: He’s basically nearly impossible to tackle one on one.
A: And if you do get a good tackle on him he’s just too powerful. You just hang on for dear life.
B: He’s a freak; he’s unreal.

Aiden, I read that you’re going to be playing for Italy in the 2013 World Cup qualifiers?
A: Yep. My grandfather was born over there and he migrated here when he about 11 or 12 years old. He recently passed away and that sort of brings you back to your roots a bit. I just reckon it will be a good experience to get over there and be part of a World Cup. I mean, how many people can say they’ve played in a World Cup? It’s pretty massive.

Does that affect your eligibility for State of Origin in the future?
A: No, because it’s like a minority nation in the world of rugby league.

Is Mini (Anthony Minichiello) playing for Italy in the qualifiers as well?
A: Yep, he certainly is.

Boyd, you played for Country this year; how did you find that?
B: It was good, mate. Obviously I’m a proud country boy so it’s always been a dream of mine and a real big goal of mine so to achieve that so early in my career, I was over the moon.

Do you reckon the City versus Country format is a good thing?
B: One hundred percent, mate. Like I said before, it’s always been a dream of mine. I reckon it’s good. Don’t get rid of it at all.

Which player do you guys least look forward to going up against?
B: Probably Greg Inglis. He’s not that fun to play against.
A: He’s got the speed and the power. We got towelled up one day by Luke Lewis too. I think he’s one of the hardest competitors I’ve ever played against.

Do you boys hate the Rabbitohs as much as the Roosters fans hate them?
B: Yeah. I think it’s good that there’s that rivalry there. I’m not really a fan of them.
A: There’s definitely still an on-field rivalry there but I it all gets left on the field these days. Like if you see them in the street you say g’day.
B: Yeah, it’s not a hatred thing, it’s just a good rivalry.
A: It makes for a better game when we play them too because there’s that extra bit of feeling and that bit of extra pride on the line.

Do you ever get heckled from Rabbitohs fans in the street?
B. Over in Mascot when I go to the pub for a feed I sometimes get a few two headed Souths supporters yelling things out but it’s not that bad.

Do you boys have a career highlight thus far?
B: Yeah, round one last year.

Which, for Beast readers, was when you made a break and put a perfect grubber through for Anthony Minichiello to score the match winner against the Rabbitohs on the buzzer. Have you kicked a footy in an NRL match since?
B: I think I have but nowhere near as good as that. I don’t think I will beat that ever.

What were you thinking when you put it on the toe?
B: I don’t know. I just saw him cruising up on the inside and he was flying and it was the last play of the game so I just kicked it and rode him home like the favourite at Rose Hill on the weekend.

What about you Aidan?
A: Mine is still probably my debut. It was a pretty big occasion for me, just getting out there. It was round one against Souths in 2010. It was where all the hard work came to fruition.

You had quite a few injuries before that didn’t you?
A: Yeah, I went through about two years where I had four surgeries on the same ankle for the same injury. I even broke the bone while there were still screws in it at one stage. In the end I had to have reconstructive surgery to change the way that like my ankle loads. It was a pretty major surgery. It was sort of like the last chance saloon. Everyone’s gone through injuries though. Boydie went through a few knee ops. There are not too many people who can say that they’ve been through their careers unscathed.

How is it when you’re coming back from injury and rehabbing?
A: It’s pretty depressing. You’re doing it all on your own a lot of the time. You find yourself in some pretty dark places.

What do you blokes get up to in your spare time?
B: In summer we just get down the beach a fair bit, just down at Coogee, chilling out. We’re not really big on any hobbies so we find ourselves just relaxing.
A: We come down here to Coogee a fair bit. Have a few coffees.
B: We just hang around with the boys in the team. We pretty much do the same thing every day off which is just sit around, tell stories and go from cafe to café.

I heard you’re going to study Aidan, is that right?
A: I tried to start yesterday. I don’t know how well I’m going to go. I’m just doing a diploma of business.

Is that the back-up plan now that Sonny Bill is at the club?
A: That’s right. The contingency plan.

Do you boys support any charities
A: I’ve done a bit with Save Our Sons, which raises funds to help find a cure for a form of muscular dystrophy called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. And I’ve just recently spoken to a lady from a thing called Stella Fella, which is about prevention of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in South East Asia and Australia. We’ve also just done the Plebs, Pro’s and Personalities 24-hour Challenge down at Maroubra.

Do the Roosters have an allegiance to any charities?
B: They’ve got the Steggles Charity Nest.
A: For every point the Roosters win by, Steggles donates $1000 and the Roosters donate $250 to the Nest. It supports the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia (CCIA), Lifestart, and the Children’s Health Foundation Queensland.

Do you have any advice for young footy players wanting to play professionally?
B: If it’s really what you want just go for it. Don’t hold back. Don’t be afraid of change. Go for it.
A: It’s not always the bloke that’s got the most talent, sometimes it’s the player who can work the hardest who will get the fruits.

Who have been your role models and inspirations, particularly since you’ve been at the Roosters?
B: A bloke that’s helped me out a lot when I first got here was Braith Anasta. He took me in when I first moved here and then when I got into a few hairy situations he stuck his neck out for me.
A: I’ve always said my dad so I’ll probably just stay with him. He’s always been there for me and given me good advice.

Is there anyone you guys would like to thank?
B: I’d just like to thank the family that I’m living with at the moment who have taken me in. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be where I am today, that’s for sure. They do everything for me. I’ve been there for about five years now so I definitely overstayed my welcome but they have never complained once.

Do you guys have girlfriends?
B: No.
A: No. I’m single.

In an ideal world what does the future hold for Boyd Cordner and Aiden Guerra?
B: Hopefully I can stick at footy and make a pretty good living out of it. After footy I’d like own a couple of places and have them paid off. I don’t know about girlfriend or anything yet, but a premiership and a NSW jersey would be nice.

How about you Aidan?
A: In the near future it’d be nice to have a premiership, but after footy I’d like to try and take advantage of the networks that you can build through footy. Obviously we’re in a pretty good position to rub shoulders with a few people in high places and hopefully I can make the most of that and not waste the opportunity that I’ve got. I also want to travel. On top of my things to do is to get out and see the world and learn a bit about myself.