Roosters Head Coach Trent Robinson says that Victor Radley is more than ready to take on the Rabbitohs this Friday night after making his long-awaited return to the field, and is expecting 'extra spice' in his side's match against their long-standing rivals.
Having sustained an ACL rupture in mid-2020, Roosters Members and supporters have been eagerly awaiting the return of fan-favourite Radley, with Robinson insisting that the man himself is just as excited to pull on the Tricolours once again.
“He’s excited. We’ve missed him and we’re glad to have him back," Robinson said.
“He’s been training hard for a long time and doing as much if not more as anyone else. It’s about allowing him to play the footy he wants to play but also making sure that’s less than 80 minutes. We’ll allow that to happen.
“It’s not just this game - he’s been champing at the bit for a long time to come back. It was pretty clear just a few days after he got injured, it’s been a long wait but it’s good to see him back.
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"He brings a love for the game and a style of play we like. We’ll let him off the leash but not completely just yet."
With a rivalry spanning for over a century, clashes between the Roosters and Rabbitohs - the two only remaining foundation clubs in the competition - often have plenty of feeling between them, and Robinson expects nothing different this Friday.
“We haven’t had a chance to talk about it much with the short turnaround but we’ll talk about it more today," he said.
“There’s usually extra spice externally from media and fans which is great. It’s what we’re here for – we’re here for entertainment – and that’s what we like.
“We’ve had some big games over the last 100-odd years but especially in my time here we’ve had some big moments. You don’t forget them and you want to have that neighbour vs neighbour attitude.
"You want to play your best footy no matter the opponent and that’s no different for Friday night. We want to improve on what we’re doing and we want to do it with intensity."
There’s usually extra spice externally from media and fans which is great. It’s what we’re here for – we’re here for entertainment – and that’s what we like.Trent Robinson On the Roosters vs Rabbitohs Rivalry
With Angus Crichton returning from suspension, Robinson says he is looking forward to seeing the backrower continue to improve his combination with an impressive Lachlan Lam, and also gave an update on sidelined dummy-half pairing Jake Friend and Sam Verrills.
“He adds a brutality to the game the way he runs the ball," Robinson said of Crichton.
"I’ve loved the way that Angus has started the pre-season and started in the trial (against Canberra) and the first round, so it’s good to get him back out there and get some rhythm with that edge.
“I’ve felt like he’s (Lam) done really well. He’s defended really well, kicked really well and he’s chimed into the combinations each week.
"He’s been getting better and better and we want to continue to see that from Lokie.
“Friend is all good. He's back to normal, he’s back to training with weights and running. There’s obviously a history we’ve got to go over to make sure we get it right.
“Sam’s close. Just before Christmas, he had a clean up to do so he’s not far. He’s close so he’ll be one or two weeks away."
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