Fittler springs Roosters selection shock - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fittler springs Roosters selection shock

By Adrian Warren 04/08/2009 05:33:22 PM Comments (0)

Departing Sydney Roosters coach Brad Fittler has produced one of the selection surprises of the season, naming fullback Anthony Minichiello at five-eighth for Sunday's clash with West Tigers at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Minichiello, who has been limited to just three games this season due to injury, was chosen in place of Ben Jones, who drops back to the bench.

The Roosters have played the second half of their disastrous campaign without first choice five-eighth and skipper Braith Anasta, who had surgery on a fractured left ankle following their round 15 loss to the Cowboys.

With five rounds left, the Roosters are running last with just five wins, but only trail the Sharks on for and against.

The unavailability of Anasta, Minichiello, Mark O'Meley, Nate Myles and James Aubusson has forced Fittler to blood numerous youngsters.

Lock Craig Fitzgibbon who, along with Minichiello, is one of the few survivors of the Roosters teams which made four grand finals in five seasons earlier in the decade, wanted to see the younger players rewarded for their efforts.

The Roosters play current top eight teams in four of their last five games.

"It's just important for the rebuilding of the club and obviously to make some tracks into next year and move forward for the young blokes who have played most of the year, which has been turbulent at times," said 32-year old NSW and Australian Test forward Fitzgibbon.

"It would just be good to see them get some wins seeing how hard they've been working."

Fitzgibbon tried to distance himself from talk about the wooden spoon and was optimistic about the Roosters' future.

"Some terrific young players have been unearthed this year in what's been tough times," Fitzgibbon said.

"If you had a look at who was sitting on the sideline for us the other night you can see the amount of quality players we are missing.

"All the kids that have filled in at some stage or another have handled the job.

"It's been hard, so those kids that have come straight into first grade in what's been nothing other than down the bottom of the ladder and bad publicity, brought on largely by ourselves though.

"I'm very optimistic for the kids, the way they have conducted themselves and the future looks bright."

Fitzgibbon, who is heading to English club Hull after the end of the NRL season, was adamant the Roosters woes this year would not overshadow all his good times at the club.

"I just want to finish with a smile, I don't think whatever happens in the back end of the year, I'm not going to look back and only concentrate on this year," Fitzgibbon said.

"It's been hard, but we've had plenty of good times here and I've been one of the lucky ones that has come out of the golden era we had for a while."

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