Anthony Minichiello: Dynamic
Dynamic and unpredictable with the ball in hand, Anthony Minichiello represents the new breed of Roosters in the 21st century.
As the Tricolours looked to expand the Club's horizons during the Super League war years - most notably with a name change from Eastern Suburbs to Sydney City - Club Legend Arthur Beetson was tasked to find the best young talent from around the country, and in 1996 he scouted a tearaway centre for East Valley United in south-west Sydney.
|Club Debut:||Round 4, 2000 vs Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs|
|Roosters Player No.||994|
|First-Grade Games:||302 (all for Roosters)|
|First-Grade Points:||557 (139 tries, 1 field goal)|
|Premierships:||2 (2002, 2013)|
|Representative Career:||4 games for NSW City (2001, 2003, 2007, 2010)
7 games for Italy (1999, 2011, 2013
11 games for NSW Origin (2003-2005, 2007, 2011)
19 games for Australia (2003-2005)
|Individual Accolades:||Dally M Fullback of the Year (2004)
Harry Sunderland Medallist (2004, 2005)
Golden Boot Award (2005)
RLIF Back of the Year (2005)
Wally Lewis Medal (2005)
Sydney Roosters Centurions (2007)
James Mathews Clubman of the Year Award (2013)
Second Most Games for Club (302)
Most Tries for Club (139)
Drafted into the SG Ball side aged 16, Minichiello rose through the ranks at a rapid pace, making his NRL debut in Round 4 of the 2000 season. Such was his progress, the spiky-haired 20-year-old would keep his spot on the wing for the rest of the season, featuring in the Grand Final in his first season - an indication of what would come in the following years for the Roosters' faithful.
He would continue his strong form on the wing over the next two seasons, featuring in the 2002 Premiership-winning side, but it was his move to fullback the following year which would see the Italian International truly shine on the Rugby League field.
Minichiello's game would go to a new level in 2003, with his dynamic attacking style and prowess with the ball in hand earning him representative debuts for both New South Wales and Australia, where he would go on to be named the Wally Lewis Medallist and the Harry Sunderland Medal as the best Kangaroos player in both the 2004 and 2005 Tri-Nations.
The fleet-footed fullback was an imperative part of the Roosters sides that featured in the 2003 and 2004 Grand Finals, and in 2005 he awarded the Golden Boot as the world's best player - appropriately presented by the man who brought him to Bondi in Beetson.
Unfortunately, injury would put Minichiello's career at a crossroads, limiting him to just 33 matches between 2006 and 2009. While the harsh reality of early retirement was considered, his trademark determination and courage shone through as he made a successful comeback to the field.
Bouncing back from a horror year for the Club in 2009, it was no coincidence to see the side's fortunes coincide with Minichiello's return, making the 2010 Grand Final and the Club's first in six seasons.
Minichiello's return to form would continue as the twilight years bore plenty of record-breaking moments - firstly breaking legendary winger Bill Mullins' long-standing try-scoring record of 104 tries in 2011 - which is a record that still stands today.
NRL Classic | 2013 Grand Final
Minichiello's crowning achievement no doubt came in 2013, as he captained the Roosters to the Minor Premiership en route to the Club's 13th Premiership in an emphatic 26-18 Grand Final victory over Manly Warringah.
Despite finishing his career one game short of a return trip to the Grand Final, the then-34-year-old carved his name into Club folklore by breaking Luke Ricketson's record for most first-grade games played in the Red, White and Blue, scoring two tries in his 302nd and final NRL match.
Following his retirement, Minichiello still finds himself heavily involved with the Club, frequently attending NRL matches as both a spectator and Club Ambassador, and currently runs his own online fitness program, MiniFit.
Dynamic, determined, and dangerous with the ball in hand, Anthony Minichiello truly is one of the Roosters' greats.