Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

a[euro][approximately]Mini' Deserves the Maximum Reward

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

a[euro][approximately]Mini' Deserves the Maximum Reward

Article excerpt

DESPITE having tipped the Roosters to win Sunday's NRL grand final, neither team tugs at my heartstrings and on that basis I'm neutral as to who lifts the Provan-Summons trophy.

On the basis they have been the best team all year, the Roosters deserve to win.

But few teams in recent years have shown the tenacity and pure guts of the Sea Eagles, and a victory by them should forever rid them of their dreaded silvertail tag.

There is, however, one player taking a damning statistic into the grand final that he does not deserve.

If the Roosters lose, skipper Anthony Minichiello will become the first player in the history of the game to have lost five grand finals.

A one-club veteran, "Mini" has been with the Roosters for 17 seasons and lost his first decider in 2000, against the Broncos.

He lost again in 2003, 2004 and 2010, sharing the ignominy of those four losses with former teammates Brad Fittler, Craig Fitzgibbon and David Barnhill.

But at least he has won a title decider - in 2002.

And he is one of just two of the 15 Roosters on Sunday to have previously played in a grand final and won.

The other, ironically, is Sonny Bill Williams - a member of the Bulldogs team in 2004 that inflicted one of those four defeats on the Roosters fullback.

The pre-eminent reason Minichiello does not deserve to be in a beaten side again is that he has been an ornament to the game during a period when the image of rugby league has been trashed by boofheads.

Apart from an ugly tackle on Josh Dugan last year and an episode involving a loaned phone almost a decade ago, I cannot recall a negative incident involving Mini in those 17 years.

He's a champion bloke and a terrific player, and deserves to dish out some retribution.

Fans will feel pinch

IN THE early '80s in a piece I penned for Rugby League Week, the late Senator Ron McAuliffe predicted that in time, rugby league spectators would be in boutique stadia, sitting in padded chairs with their own personal TV screens and served food and refreshments by waiters.

But I doubt this grand visionary would have imagined that three decades down the track, blue-collar workers would be priced out of attending his baby - State of Origin games. …

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