An enticing twist is set to unravel in rugby league history on Sunday, courtesy of the Strange family. The family will be involved in three distinct matches spanning two hours, injecting a unique dimension to the greatest game of all.
The opening act commences at 12.03pm, as John Strange takes the helm as coach of the Roosters NRLW team, locking horns against Cronulla. Following this, at 1.50pm, John’s daughter, Jasmin, is scheduled to represent the defending champions of NRLW, Newcastle, in a keen contest against the Titans.
The family affair continues as Ethan, Jasmin’s 18-year-old brother, and a highly valued Raiders rookie, will make his official NRL debut only ten minutes later. His debut will pit him against the Storm at AAMI Park.
The Strange family’s matriarch Adele, finds herself designated to the stands in Melbourne. In an amusing jest, Jasmin expresses her fate of “no-one watching me this weekend”. In a bid to let John witness his son’s debut live, the Roosters are contemplating a back-up plan whereby John could remotely carry out his coaching duties. Kylie Hilder, the Tricolours assistant coach, will substitute for John in his absence.
John shares the tale of Ricky Stuart’s faith in young Ethan. Stuart has granted Ethan an honour-packed top-grade debut against the Storm in Melbourne. This move was met with a mix of stunned silence and emotion from an un-expecting Ethan.
John Strange recalls Ricky Stuart‘s wish to debut Ethan ahead of the semis “I spoke to Sticky about a month ago and he said he wanted to debut Ethan leading into the semis,” says John. This revelation came as a surprise considering Ethan was only 17 when he moved to Canberra.
“When he signed, Stick and I had a father-to-father chat and he told me he wouldn’t be put in before he was ready,” John continues. “Then Sticky rang this week telling me he’ll start at centre against Melbourne in Melbourne, it’s a big call and an exciting one.”
The alliance between Ethan and Ricky was cemented when Ethan’s contract was up for renewal last year. Despite parallels being drawn between Stuart and John, the latter maintained a hands-off approach during negotiations.
Meanwhile, Jasmin is finding her ground in the NRL after an ACL rupture during Covid-19 and a single game under her father at the Roosters last season. She made a deliberate choice to carve her path independently last year, stepping away from the tricolours’ books.
The Knights–Roosters clash involving father-daughter duo John and Jasmin doesn’t take place until September 9. With a hint of competitive spirit, John admits, “She is my daughter of course, but she’ll also be wearing the wrong jersey on game day.”