Panthers premiership winner Paul Momirovski is returning to the Sydney Roosters.
People ask me all the time about whether or not as the years go by, I lose interest or excitement in the game and I can tell you that that’s just not the case.
This Thursday night, for me, can’t come quick enough. I cannot wait to lead the boys out and kick off the 2013 NRL season, at home and in front of our fans.
I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of such a build up to a Round 1 game, or seen it in the thirteen years I’ve been a rugby league player. It’s big, really big and so it should be.
As a part of being a Roosters player, you just can’t like Souths. They’re our biggest rival and that’s what makes these games so special. Finishing up 2012 at one a piece, with both sides claiming last-gasp wins in our two meetings, was one of the stories of the season but now it’s time to write a new chapter and the playing group, our Members and our fans can’t wait.
We know, as a group, that everyone will be watching on Thursday night. This has been one of the most talked about games in recent years and why wouldn’t it be? There are superstars all over the paddock, from both teams.
Souths have again added talent to their books with Ben Te’o joining Inglis, Burgess and Luke at Redfern and, after finishing one game short of the GF in 2012, they’re only going to get better.
There’s no hiding from the names we’ve brought in either, with James Maloney, Michael Jennings, Luke O’Donnell and – of course – Sonny Bill Williams all now calling the Roosters home in 2013.
It’s a big match, but it’s not the only one.
We know this game means more than any other to Roosters supporters. It’s everything to them, and why wouldn’t it be after almost a hundred years of battles? But as a group this week, as 8.05pm on Thursday night gets closer, we need to remember that winning this match is about kick-starting our season and not just getting a win against our neighbours.
There have been a lot of changes here at the Roosters over the summer months and it’s been a long off-season, but at the same time it’s been a pleasure to be a part of. I’ve mentioned the new faces in the playing group, but that’s only part of it. With a new-look coaching staff, led by Trent Robinson, and a new leadership for the administration led by Brian Canavan and Ted Helliar, the Sydney Roosters is a club on the rise.
We haven’t given our fans what they deserve in recent years, and we know that.
We weren’t up to scratch in all areas of the game, but under Robbo’s guidance and with the assistance of Jason Taylor, Craig Fitzgibbon and Paul Green, we’ve worked hard to become the side that Sydney Roosters supporters deserve.
There’s always going to be a level of expectation at Bondi Junction, and we know that. It’s the same reason you want to be a Rooster, because the history within these walls is second to none and it drives you every day.
I was fortunate early on in my career to have been a part of an amazing few years here at the Roosters, playing alongside some of the games greatest ever players and winning a premiership too. But, although our history is what has shaped us as a Club it can’t be what defines us now.
As a group, in 2013, we’re about making our own history in these famous colours and, as I said at the start, it can’t come quick enough.
This is a special Guest Column from Sydney Roosters captain, Anthony Minichiello, who will be playing his 252nd game for the club on Thursday night. There’s still tickets available to Thursday night’s blockbuster against the Bunnies at Allianz Stadium. Don’t miss out on being a part of the biggest NRL season opener ever: secure your seat today.