Coaches Profile – Michael “Rook” Vardavas

Back to coaches


The UNSW Raiders are pleased to announce Michael “Rook” Vardavas as the mens Defensive Line coach. Coach Rook was the D-Line coach for the 2018 season and returns for 2019. He has an impressive playing career where he’s always played Defensive Line starting his career back in 1986.

Michael started watching Gridiron on TV back in the ’80s when by chance he was driving past Rushcutters Bay Park and saw a bunch of guys playing it. He says he “went to check it out and signed up then and there for the Eastern Suburbs Buccaneers.” When asked how he got the nickname ‘Rook’ he explains, “There were five Michael’s on the team and I was the youngest. I was the Rookie. One day one of the veterans of the team called out ‘hey rook come over here!’ He was looking at me when saying it and it stuck ever since then.” He says he was called ‘Rook’ all through his playing years, from local, to state, to national team. He laughs that even some refs were unaware of his real name for years.

This year will mark Michaels 30th year with the Raiders.

He was selected on the Raiders 25 year silver anniversary team.

Coaching philosophy: Family

Coaching experience:

  • 2018 Defensive Line coach

Playing Experience:

  • 1986-1988 East Suburbs Buccaneers
  • 1989-2010 Bondi Raiders
  • 1986-2000 NSW State team
  • 1996 – Australian team selection
  • 1999 – Australian Representative for 1st World Cup.

Back to coaches

Share this Post