A lukewarm goodbye to Braith Anasta
How will Braith Anasta fit in at the Tigers? (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Renee McKay)
Yesterday it was confirmed that Braith Anasta will leave Sydney Roosters at the end of the season to play for Wests Tigers in the halves. While some Roosters fans may have felt regret, I felt stoic indifference.
I remember when Anasta got here seven seasons ago and first put on the tricolours. I was a little defensive about the whole move because I still had vivid memories of him lifting the NRL trophy ahead of Freddy in the 2004 grand final. All that blue and white. Yuck!
But you know how it goes. Slowly we became fond of him. He blended into the team pretty well at a time when many Roosters favourites were on the way out.
He was far from a ‘wowee’ player, but he got the job done. A solid foundation, if you like.
Wearing the tag of ‘most over-rated player’ as voted by his peers, over the years he just seemed to plateau. He didn’t get much better and didn’t get much worse. Plain boring, really.
The skills are there, though let’s face it, he’s no Darren Lockyer or Benji Marshall. Nor, dare I say it, Todd Carney. What a difference a year can make.
Ironically I’d say Anasta’s best moment for the Roosters was against the Tigers, last season when he scored the winning field goal in the finals.
Overall, however, he hasn’t been amazing. Maybe that’s because of the players that surround him, maybe it’s Brian Smith’s coaching, or maybe at 30 years of age he’s just past his peak. Perhaps it’s a horrid combination of it all.
Even as a departing captain (which is pretty rare in today’s game), I really don’t think it’s a huge loss for Sydney.
At his age it was inevitable, and there’s a lot more to gain by trying out some fresh talent. It’s about time Mitchell Pearce was given the opportunity to lead the next generation of players at the Roosters and hopefully Pearce will be given that duty.
Right now is such a ghastly period of change for the club. Anthony Minichiello, the last of the old guard, will leave too before long.
If recent performances are anything to go by, it’s not as if they’re in any sort of position to contest for finals football. So now is as good a time as ever to do a little experimenting.
At the moment, I, along with other Roosters fans, am far more concerned with how Smith and the club intend to build a premiership-winning team.
The simple fact is that what we’ve got at the moment just won’t cut it. There’s no discipline, no structure, no creativity and since Carney left, our scoring ability has made other flaws in our game glaringly obvious and a little embarrassing to watch.
Maybe Sonny Bill Williams or 2013 signing James Maloney will solve that, I don’t know. But right now there’s an important shift happening down at Bondi and Braith Anasta’s exit is just the beginning.
Naturally, I’m still hoping he can steady the ship and help try and steer us into the top eight this season. After that, this is a much-needed goodbye.
We need amazing. We need that x-factor. And Braith, sorry, you just don’t have it anymore.
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