Sydney Roosters coach Brian Smith assured veteran stars Anthony Minichiello and Braith Anasta on Friday if they deliver results on the field, they’ll be rewarded with new NRL contracts.
Smith said both were very much in the club’s plans but, as the oldest two players at the Roosters, they would have to prove their worth.
“Reality says that at this point in time in their careers, they’ve got to show us that they’ve still got what it takes to cut the mustard at the top level,” Smith said.
“And I think you’d be foolish if you backed them out but we still need to see it.”
Minichiello admitted he would find it difficult to play against the Roosters – the only team he’s represented in the NRL since debuting in 2000 – but floated the idea of finishing his career overseas if a new deal at Bondi was not forthcoming.
“There’s no doubt that I’ll be playing on,” said Minichiello, who turns 32 in May.
“… To be honest, I can’t see myself pulling on another jersey in the NRL.
“That’s just me. I’ve been loyal to the Roosters my whole career.
“I’m letting my manager sort out a few things overseas just to have a look at what is going on.
“I’ve always negotiated with the Roosters solely throughout my whole career and, as you get to be a senior player, you like to keep your options open and see what’s out there.
“But I’ve been loyal to the club and the club’s been loyal to me throughout the years as well so that won’t change.”
Smith indicated the club would find a place for Minichiello beyond 2012 if he backed up with a season as productive as last year – when he made a return to the State of Origin arena with two games for NSW.
“He’s not been told that he’s not required here next year. In fact, if he plays again like he did in 2011, I’m pretty sure he will be here,” Smith said before adding the club would not stand in his way if a better offer surfaced.
“He’s got opportunities in other places and the Roosters will respect that if it comes out that that’s the best thing for him to do,” he said.
“Our club wouldn’t stand in his way but personally I’m just hoping that he can put another great season together and that he can maximise his opportunities.”