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3 days ago
Undoubtedly one of the planks for the Pepsi Dolphins' success over the past decade has been a robust pack.
And the stanchion of the pack is a heavyweight front-row. From the days of Brad Pike, Grant Cleal, Rob Campbell and Shaun Rubesaame to more recent fixtures Adam Starr, Shane Tronc and Troy Lindsay, the common denominations have been aggression and size.
With the exception of fierce tackler Russell Lahiff, few Redcliffe props weighed in at less than 100 kilograms and rarely do opposition packs dominate.
The club's latest addition to the front-row armoury fits the bill neatly. Nathan Sologinkin arrives at the Dolphins with size and experience in spades. Effectively he will take over the role of Tronc, now ensconced at the Cowboys. The 100kg prop has had stints at NRL clubs the Crushers, Bulldogs, Canberra and Melbourne Storm and is still only 25.
Last season he turned out for one NRL fixture with the Storm, spending the rest of his time at offshoot Brisbane Norths.
"It was good at Norths, I'm not complaining. It was a good experience there as I flew down south for seven or eight weeks during the season. "But with the side changing each week as players are promoted to and dropped from the Storm, it can't improve as a team. The people might be there one week and not there the following week. "I also realised that I was at the next stage of my life and I didn't want to be travelling away from home."
Why may you ask has he dropped down a rung from the NRL to the Queensland Cup? Sologinkin is blunt and honest: "I have been married for three years and want to settle in Brisbane. I wanted to go to a good club, a family club."
His initial impression of the Dolphins is positive. "They are a good bunch of blokes," he said. "There's no complaints from me and everyone knows they are a successful club. "It has not been hard to fit in, which is another sign of a good club. And everyone here wants to win, which makes it easier."
Sologinkin's introduction has been made easier via friendships with Shane Perry and Jason Campbell, former team-mates at the Bulldogs and Crushers respectively.
His family, through father Bill, also has a strong tie to Mackay football with Redcliffe institutions the Boxsells (John and Tracy) and Lance Miller counted among their friends, along with halfback Michael Roberts' family.
"They've all had nothing but good things to say about the Dolphins. I left Mackay at the end of grade 11 to join the Crushers," Sologinkin said. "I spent grade 12 at Wavell High as I had four years with the Crushers.
"I have been a prop all my life and only know the one position."
After the Crushers followed two seasons with the Raiders and three at the Bulldogs, winning two premiers with that club's reserve grade.
"The highlight of my career so far has been the two titles with the Bulldogs," he said. "Canterbury are such a professional club and you see the same sort of things at Redcliffe. Everyone is heading in the same direction. The players are keen and enthusiastic and everyone is ready to start playing. I know I am ready to go."
Sologinkin spends his days working with his wife Dee-Anne's father Bill Small at his Fresh Extremes Fruit Markets on Albany Creek Road. "It's surprising the number of Redcliffe and Sunshine Coast people we get into the shop," he said. "They will travel especially to here."