Riddell striving for elusive NRL title - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Riddell striving for elusive NRL title

By Ben Horne 16/12/2010 05:29:31 PM Comments (0)

Sydney Roosters recruit Mark Riddell never thought he would return to the NRL - but now he's back and desperate to pocket an elusive premiership.

Riddell won the Super League grand final with Wigan this year, but instead of satisfying him, the triumph has only made the 30-year-old hungrier to experience some long-awaited glory in Australia.

After playing 178 matches in the NRL prior to heading to England, the robust dummy-half can consider himself unlucky to have not claimed a ring already.

The larrikin, nicknamed 'Piggy', was part of the classy St George Illawarra sides who made the finals three times without success in the early 2000s.

Riddell then switched to Parramatta in 2005 and, in his four years there, never missed the playoffs - coming within a game of the big one in '05 and '07.

Family reasons have brought Riddell back to Australia, and after deciding to knock back an offer from the Wests Tigers at the last minute, he's landed at Bondi Junction, where his rugby league career started as an SG Ball Cup player back in 1996.

It also brings the hooker back together with coach Brian Smith, who he played under for two seasons at the Eels.

As he comes to the twilight of his career, Riddell has come to appreciate the uniqueness of being a premiership winner.

He's confident he can make it two straight flags, in two different continents, with the Roosters in 2011.

"I don't think (winning with Wigan) did (satisfy). It only made me more hungry for an NRL one now," said Riddell, who has signed a one-year deal with the Roosters.

"You're chasing it for so long ... I spent eight or nine years chasing one before I left.

"So many players don't get them, and we were lucky to get one over there.

"Just the feeling afterwards and the celebrations, you hear all the players say there's nothing like it.

"When you come back here, this is the one that every Aussie footy player wants - the NRL title - so it's definitely something I'm aiming for with the Chooks."

Piggy with the Chooks sounds like a meal made in heaven, and Riddell is confident he can push for a fulltime position in the NRL side, either starting or working in tandem with Jake Friend off the bench.

Riddell appeared set to sign with the Tigers, however the prospect of regular game time at the Roosters swayed him.

An ACL knee injury to utility recruit Anthony Watts in pre-season training meant the Roosters were looking for a new impact player to fill the void, and Riddell is looking to make his mark before Watts' expected return in round 12.

"In this day and age and for myself being around a long time now, anywhere in the 17 is a great option for me," he said.

"I'm just going to work hard in the pre-season now and hopefully play well in the trials and leave that up to Smithy.

"I think the game's changed a fair bit since I left ... I'll probably have to modify my game."

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