Runner-up, Victorian Championships, 2001-2002
World Championships player, 2001
A competitive instinct
Rod was born in Newcastle (NSW). He was one of a
family of seven - with one sister and five other brothers. Sport
was an important part of Rod’s childhood, with competition being fierce
but fair between he and his siblings. Rod excelled at soccer, playing
as a striker or on the wing where he could use his speedy play and
ability to hook the ball from the tightest of positions into
unexpected openings. He made underage representative soccer teams and
also represented NSW in badminton. In this sport, and in his tennis, he
would manoeuvre his opponents with tight play before finishing them off
with moves deep into the corners.
The secret life of plants
After Newcastle Boys’ High School, Rod started a course in
Sociology at Newcastle University. But he soon became more
interested in Horticulture and completed a Horticultural Certificate at
Newcastle TAFE. Rod started his own garden maintenance business in
Newcastle. He then worked in retail nursery businesses in Newcastle and
Sydney where he managed nurseries in Balmain and Willoughby.
A budding talent
While living in a flat in Sydney's Lane Cove, Rod’s Scrabble career
began in earnest. After joining the Balmain BUGS club in 1994, Rod was
bitten by the tournament Scrabble bug and eagerly started club hopping.
It wouldn’t be unusual to find Rod at four clubs during a single week.
Furthermore, he fitted in regular games with other strong players
during the week. Nowadays, he still plays extra games to
supplement his bi-weekly diet of club competition Scrabble.
He knows a PANICLE from a SANICLE
Rod nurtures a huge word knowledge grown from botanical terms. He knows
his roots, stems and flowery language. He has been dubbed Captain
Hook because of his mastery of add-on letters. Rod is also renowned
for clever tile tracking and a shrewd endgame. Rod’s Scrabble has gone
from strength to strength. Rod strung together an impressive series of
tournament wins from mid-2000 onwards. After achieving second place in
Victoria's State Championship, he became Queensland State Champion
(plus won four tournaments in metropolitan Sydney). His well-earned
ratings gain boosted him into the Australian team bound for Las Vegas.
Having achieved that goal he soon set off on a lengthy European sortie
plus a foray to North America (he also took a laptop loaded with a word