Minichiello faces career-defining season - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Minichiello faces career-defining season

By Todd Balym 19/02/2009 06:56:25 PM Comments (0)

Make no mistake, 2009 is make or break for Anthony Minichiello.

A good year will open many doors to extend his professional football career.

Another bad year, and any recurrence of the back and neck issues that have plagued him the last three seasons, could spell the end for rugby league's 2005 world player of the year.

"I don't feel like I'm playing for my career but I know it's a big year for myself," said Minichiello on Thursday.

"I'm (coming) off contract, I have had a couple of scratchy seasons through injury and it's definitely a year I want to achieve goals and play the full season."

The 28-year-old is contracted to the Sydney Roosters to the end of the 2009 season and having played just 25 NRL games in three seasons due to disc problems in his spine it is hard to imagine the club persisting with the former Test fullback if he can't prove his injury woes are well and truly over.

But Minichiello said he felt confident after completing his first full pre-season since 2002.

Touring duties with the Kangaroos shortened his pre-season training each year between 2003 and 2005 while he was in injury rehabilitation programs every season since before this one.

"This full pre-season has been great," he said.

"It the first one I've completed since 2002 so it will be a bonus."

Minichiello was linked to a move to French rugby union last year and on Thursday said he would look at all his options before signing his next contract.

However, he is unlikely to trade NRL clubs after more than a decade in the Roosters program.

"I definitely couldn't see myself playing for another club," he said.

"This is the club I've been at since the end of 1996 and I would love to stay here.

"I'm definitely going to just sit back and see what is probably out there.

"In saying that I'm only concentrating on playing for the Roosters and I haven't really thought about my next contract yet and won't until I start playing."

Minichiello played the final three games for the Roosters last year and will make his first appearance this year in Saturday's Foundation Cup pre-season clash with Wests Tigers at the Sydney Football Stadium.

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