The significance behind Radley's debut
Every Monday, Victor Radley is asked the same question by Roosters coach Trent Robinson.
"Do you think you're ready to make your NRL debut?"
Every Monday, he gives the same response.
"Bloody oath I am."
It's usually just a tease to make the 19-year-old hungrier, but last week was different.
With regular No.9 Jake Friend out with a broken hand, Radley – who has played most of his NYC career at lock or in the back row – was called upon to make his NRL debut.
His numbers in the Holden Cup have been phenomenal this year – he scored a hat-trick and ran for 217 metres in Round 1 and averages roughly 150 metres and 38 tackles per game in 2017 – while he turned last year's grand final on its head when he came on at hooker to help the Roosters produce the biggest comeback in NYC finals history.
Having already represented the Junior Blues and Kangaroos this year, Radley – a self-confessed Roosters tragic – didn't think he'd be given an opportunity so soon.
"He asks me every week if I'm ready to make my debut and I always tell him 'bloody oath I am' but it's always just a tease, so when he told me that it was really happening, I tried to act serious but I couldn't wipe the smile off my face," Radley told NRL.com following Friday night's win over Newcastle.
"Words can't really describe what it means to me. Ever since I can remember, I wanted to play for the Roosters.
"They're the only team I ever wanted to play for; I love the Roosters, I breathe the Roosters, so to finally get a crack at such a young age is just a special feeling for me, my parents and all the boys that were here supporting.
"Growing up I used to idolise guys like Craig Fitzgibbon and Anthony Minichiello. A few years ago when Sonny Bill Williams came in, he was one of my favourites. I remember sitting at home when he was playing – it feels like a lifetime ago – and I was watching them and thinking they were gods and gladiators, so to think that I just played with about half of those players that I watched growing up, it's so special.
"I don't really have a favourite position anymore. I'll just go where I'm needed and do a job for the team. I think in the NRL I'm probably more suited to the hooker role because I'm not the biggest bloke so I might get found out in the back row."
Radley looked right at home in the middle of the field with 38 tackles in an impressive 67-minute stint, and despite his relative anonymity to some, the Clovelly Crocodiles junior was the most popular man at Allianz Stadium thanks to the Bronte Boardriders.
For 80 minutes, Moore Park was treated to the Victor Radley show as the mates he'd know from under-6s nippers chanted his name at every turn and even took their shirts off to proudly spell his name; a brave feat given the conditions.
"I knew they were coming. They put something on Facebook saying that if they'd hit 100 fans then they'd all come down to watch me play, and once I saw that I knew they were going to be loud and carry on. Knowing the blokes they are, they're anything but quiet," he laughed.
"For all my mates who I've been with for as long as I can remember – and for them to organise signs and to be so loud – it was just really special. It was hard for me to not turn around and have a big smile on my face so I tried to block it out a little bit but I gave them a wave when I could."
Making the occasion even more special was the fact Radley was the first local junior to represent the Roosters since Tom Symonds made his NRL debut in 2009.
Sydney's eastern suburbs haven't been a traditional breeding ground for the NRL with the local competition home to just four clubs (Bondi United, Paddington Colts, Clovelly Crocodiles and St Charles).
The moment wasn't lost on coach Trent Robinson who also paid tribute to Radley's former coach and Roosters legend Adrian Lam for helping create a pathway for young players hoping to do their local community proud.
"That was a big thing for us. Our demographic has changed over the generations and over the decades. It's changed significantly," he said.
"We've got four junior teams and the Clovelly Crocodiles that have produced Victor Radley – and with one of our former players in Adrian Lam having a big investment in his development – it's really important that we still show that there's a pathway here.
"To play the way that he played was outstanding, but for him to come through our system, it was a really proud moment for our club and for the juniors and locals in our area."
This article first appeared on NRL.COM