By Russell Bennett
In all walks of life, there are those who lead and those who follow.
But in a local footy sense, there are few who lead just like Catani’s Tanny Rodda.
Just a few months ago the 31-year-old stood atop the dais as the Blues’ senior captain alongside coach Paul Alger on the final day of the season, holding the EDFL premiership cup aloft.
Hours prior, as co-coach with Dylan Williams, he also led Catani’s Under 18s to premiership glory.
And now, on the eve of the 2018 season, Rodda is taking an even bigger stride forward with his leadership – taking on the club presidency.
Not only does the move show just how highly regarded Rodda is by all at Taplins Road, it shows just what the football and netball club means to him.
In January, Rodda will marry Catani’s netball vice president, Geordie Disney.
“I call Catani my second home,” Rodda said looking out over the ground on Saturday, already looking forward to the new season.
“You come here and the people are so great – they’re like family, they really are.”
At the Blues, the netballers and footballers are truly part of one club, and they’re all on the same page in driving Catani forward.
And from 2017, they’ve got a hell of a building block.
Rodda has played at other clubs, and won a senior premiership before, but he’d never experienced anything quite like feeling he had straight after the Blues’ dream day at Western Park – in the wake of two famous flags.
And on grand final morning, it wasn’t nervousness engulfing the club – it was genuine self-belief and pure excitement about the opportunity that awaited it.
“You hear of people getting nervous or people being worried, but everyone was just cool and calm and it just felt right – it felt like it was our day,” Rodda said.
He knew, along with his club-mates, that Catani’s iron-strong culture built around toughness and a pure team-first at all costs mentality would see it through.
“A lot of people will say I’m not the best drop punt in the world, but I can win the footy and that’s the main thing,” Rodda said.
When Rodda returned to the Blues a few years ago after a number of years away, he knew he wasn’t leaving again. He was back home.
Though he’s inexperienced when it comes to years on the committee, Rodda is fully confident when it comes to fulfilling the role as president – his team mates, Alger, the committee, and the rest of the club have backed him in and they’ll support him to the hilt. Alger, too, will back him to continue captaining the senior side.
In taking over the presidency, Rodda paid tribute to his predecessor Peter Duff – another who bleeds blue.
“He’s just put so much effort in and he’s just done an unbelievable job,” Rodda said.
“I remember the night of our premiership he took me over to an old photo because he was captain of the side that won back then and he said this one meant just as much to him as it did to me.
“So I was thinking if anyone deserved to be president at the time of us winning a flag, it was absolutely Duffy.”
As president, Rodda wants to see the Blues launch from their strong current platform, and in 2018 the club will also be fielding an Under 16s side after not having the numbers this year.
But there’s another part of his role that he’s looking forward to not only overseeing, but leading.
“When I was younger, probably even before I came to Catani, I didn’t realise how much work the committee and the president do at a club,” he said.
“They’re always here, but (as a player) you always think things are going to just happen. You rock up and you just play.
“That’s probably the biggest step that we’re hoping to take this year – for more of the players to take ownership of the club.
“I just want to close that gap a bit from those who’ve been on the committee for so long, and the playing group.”
Rodda said he’d always dreamed of one day being a senior captain, and Alger – his biggest influence in footy – backed him in at the Blues.
And for the presidency, he did the same.
“In the back of my mind I thought I’d like to come back one day and be president,” he said.
“I didn’t think it’d happen as soon as this but as soon as the idea got floated around I found it really exciting.
“Some people might think it’s crazy or it’s too much to take on, but the amount of support and help I’ll get is massive.
“I didn’t even think about saying no, but I just wondered if I could really do it. The more I thought about it, the more I thought why not?”