Matt Takes a Gamble

GIANT Parramatta winger Matt Gruszka likes a challenge. That would explain his gamble on moving from his Sydney home, club and family to try his luck with the Pepsi Dolphins. Gruszka, all 99 kilograms and 188 centimetres of him, admits he knew virtually nothing about Redcliffe or the Queensland Cup competition when he joined in the off-season. "I was on holidays when I got a call about the Redcliffe offer," he said. "I liked the offer and thought I would take the challenge of starting again with a clean slate at a new club. "I had only a vague picture of the Queensland Cup and personally didn't know anything about Redcliffe. But some of the boys at Parramatta came from Toowoomba, Casino and Cairns so the Cup competition had made its mark in Sydney.'' Gruszka has had a quick introduction to the state scene with trials against premiers Burleigh and Souths-Logan. He was man of the match against the Bears, although he knows their squad was split that weekend. "We went into the matches at full strength and you don't take too much into account with trials," he said. Gruszka had the opportunity to stay with the Eels, the club he had spent three seasons with, rising to its Premier League ranks. "I'm actually from Lidcombe and played in the Canterbury junior competition," he said. "I started with Parramatta's SG Ball side and worked my way up to the Premier League and the fulltime list last season." Gruszka had star wingers Matt Petersen and Eric Grothe in front of him in the Eels' NRL side, but decided to head north. "I see Redcliffe as an opportunity to go forward in my career," he said. "I could have stayed with Parramatta on the same deal as last year but I want to see how good I can go here." Gruszka makes no bones of the fact that he hopes to use the Dolphins as a stepping stone back to National Rugby League ranks. "I want to get back to the NRL next year through the back door to the Roosters,'' he said. "I spoke to James Hinchey at Redcliffe and he made everything sound good.'' Gruszka's size makes him an ideal candidate for the forwards as well, "In my junior days I played in the second-row and centres," he said. "It was only when I went to Parramatta that they put me on the wing. "I'm happy on the wing at Redcliffe as we've got much better centres than I would be. Everything is so comfortable here. "The club is extremely professional and I feel comfortable, a lot more comfortable than I ever did at Parramatta. "The lifestyle is great and the club has been most helpful in getting me settled." After being a fulltime player with the Eels, Gruszka is working at the Leagues Club in the Bottleshop.And as for his name? It has Polish origins and to pronounce it correctly just drop out the z.