The standout junior’s father died earlier this year but not before his son vowed he’d see how far football could take him.
Since then he’s starred in the AFL Cairns competition, playing for second-placed North Cairns Tigers, even kicking a ten-goal bag against Cairns City Lions earlier this month.
While his talent is widely recognised, the speedy forward pocket says his commitment has intensified since his father’s passing. “At the moment I’m pretty serious about it because he was the one who put me on the track to football and now I’m like addicted to it,” he says. “I promised that person I would do my best to make him happy. This football thing means a lot to me now.”
Originally from the remote indigenous communities of Lockhart River and Coen on Cape York, Rokeby has moved down to Cairns splitting time living with AFL Queensland’s Indigenous Programs Manager, Rick Hanlon and AFL Cape York’s, Kane Richter.
Mr Hanlon says the skilful left-footer is just one of many players he mentors currently who are starting to evolve.
“He’s got a fair bit going on. He’s started at a new school but he’s starting to mature a little bit more in what he’s doing,” he says. “The other weekend he kicked those ten goals and I don’t know whether the history books have got a 17-year old kicking ten in our local senior competition.”
Mr Rokeby says both Mr Hanlon and Mr Richter have been a huge support.
“[They're] good mentors. Put me on the right track, keeping me out of trouble and stuff so it’s been good being with them,” he says.