Smith is what Roosters need: Minichiello - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smith is what Roosters need: Minichiello

By Josh Jerga 22/07/2009 05:16:49 PM Comments (0)

Returning Sydney Roosters veteran Anthony Minichiello says Brian Smith will bring some much-needed discipline to the NRL club next season and warns the playing group will have to toe the line.

Minichiello admitted to feeling "weird" when it was announced last week Brad Fittler would be replaced by Newcastle coach Smith next season.

But the former Test and NSW star, who has now outlasted four coaches at the club, said the Roosters needed to be reigned in after a scandalous season.

"I think he's a disciplinarian and he likes to discipline the team and I think we need a bit of that, so that should be good," Minichiello said on Wednesday.

"It was a weird feeling watching the footy the other night and it got announced but the thing is we're going to finish off this year with Freddy and then there's a new, fresh start at the beginning of pre-season.

"He'll (Smith) bring his culture and that sort of stuff and everyone's just got to jump on board."

Minichiello has had to watch helplessly from the sidelines with an ankle injury for the past 18 weeks as the Roosters battled poor form on the field and bad behaviour off it.

Smith will come to the Roosters with a record of pulling wayward players into line and making unpopular cuts to the playing roster.

In his first year at the Knights, Smith faced a barrage of bad press and hostile reactions from parochial fans when he axed ten players including worshipped Hunter Valley products Josh Perry, Clint Newton and Adam Woolnough.

But three seasons later, Smith has taken Newcastle from wooden spoon favourites to premiership contenders.

Minichiello said the Roosters' off-field, alcohol-fuelled indiscretions had set the course to have them facing their first wooden spoon since 1966.

He said even before Smith was announced as the new coach, the club was in the process of fixing the culture.

"It's frustrating to see us and the club at the bottom of the table," he said.

"We don't want to finish with the wooden spoon so it's definitely a goal in the last seven weeks to win some games and help Freddy out.

"I suppose things off the field haven't been good for the club this year and (chief executive Steve Noyce) has been working hard and also Freddy's working hard on the off-field stuff.

"We need to get that right and then it sort of transfers on the field as well."

The 29-year-old will make his return for the Roosters on Monday night with a surprise addition of a "C" scrawled next to his name following injuries to Craig Fitzgibbon and Braith Anasta.

Minichiello said he was excited about finally captaining the side after running out for ten seasons with club.

He is also close to finalising a one-year contract extension with the Roosters which will see him play under his fifth coach at the club following stints under Graham Murray, Ricky Stuart, Chris Anderson and Fittler.

And if Minichiello had any thoughts of coaching after his playing career, they haven't been encouraged by the latest departure.

"It's not a job for the faint hearted I suppose," he laughed.

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