He’s widely regarded as one of the best wingers to ever play Rugby League and now True Blue Steve ‘Blocker’ Roach has recalled an epic story that epitomises the legacy of Eric Grothe Sr.
The year was 1985 and the NSW squad were training in the hope of claiming their first State of Origin series victory over the Queensland Maroons, having not won the Shield since it started in 1980.
The Blues side boasted a star-studded line-up with the likes of Roach, Wayne Pearce, and Noel Cleal in the forward pack and Grothe Sr, Brett Kenny and Steve Mortimer in the backline.
While the historic series is remembered for NSW claiming their first ever win, Roach reflected on a training session that blew everyone in the squad off the park.
“We did this bench press on a universal machine and we just put the whole load (of weights) on, Roach told Behind Blue Eyes.
“We had a competition between all the Kangaroos players on who could (lift) the most, and Eric Grothe won easy.
“He could lift a pylon…he was that strong.
“A lot of the tries you would see him score – he had great balance (and) great power.”
Grothe Sr enjoyed a stellar career that spanned across nine seasons, winning four Grand Finals with the Parramatta Eels (1981, 82, 83, 86) and scoring 92 tries in just 168 games.
He played nine games for NSW and eight for Australia, scoring three and 10 tries respectively.
In 2008, he was listed in Australia’s 100 greatest players, and as of last year, is an NRL Hall of Fame inductee.