Mini looks to repay Roosters' faith - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mini looks to repay Roosters' faith

By Steve Jancetic 28/08/2009 04:35:52 PM Comments (0)

Anthony Minichiello claims he never seriously entertained thoughts of quitting the NRL for rugby union or Super League, the former Test fullback on Friday re-signing with the Sydney Roosters for the 2010 season.

The one-year extension finally brought to an end speculation the injury-prone 29-year-old would continue his career in Europe, with Minichiello saying he wanted to show some loyalty to a club which showed similar faith during his horrendous injury run.

After winning the Golden Boot award as the world's best player in 2005, Minichiello has been limited to just 31 games in the four seasons since.

The injury run left many believing he would opt to play in the less physically demanding Super League competition or French rugby but, despite admitting to having some offers in Europe, Minichiello said he still had plenty to prove in Australia.

"I really didn't look at it too intensely because I knew I wanted to stay here and I knew the Roosters wanted to look after me for another year so I really didn't pursue it that heavily at all," Minichiello said.

"To be honest I never wanted to leave the club - they've been very patient with me the last four years and I just wanted to repay a bit of loyalty to the club and the fans as well - they've been great."

After playing at fullback for the majority of his career, Minichiello has spent the last three weeks at five-eighth.

There seems little question he will return to the No.1 jumper in 2010, when he will also be forced to step up his leadership role as the club regroups under new coach Brian Smith and veteran backrower Craig Fitzgibbon departs for the UK.

"I think next year Mase (Willie Mason) will be the oldest and I'm the second oldest," Minichiello said.

"I stepped up this year and took on a bit of a leadership role on helping out Fitzy but next year that Fitzy's gone there's a big hole which we have to fill, everyone has to step up."

Minichiello said he was still keen to play on after next season, hopeful that an injury free run could see his worth return to something near what it was when he was a NSW and Test regular.

He welcomed the club's interest in Lote Tuqiri, with the dual international confirming on Thursday that he had met with Roosters officials before flying out to speak to rugby union clubs in France.

"It'd be nice, wouldn't it? A big strong centre/winger running out in your backline," Minichiello said.

"I don't know - he's obviously getting a lot of money to play rugby union and he can probably get a lot more if he heads overseas, but if he does want to stay in Sydney I think the Roosters are perfect for him."

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