AFTER 13 years in Bondi, Anthony Minichiello has been named skipper of the Sydney Roosters.
Minichiello, who has been at the Roosters since he was 16, said the appointment was probably the most meaningful highlight of his career to date.
“[It’s] a pretty special moment,” he told reporters at a press conference at Roosters HQ in Sydney this afternoon. “To be named captain of the club I love so much means the absolute world to me.”
Minichiello replaces Braith Anasta, who left the team to join the Wests Tigers.
The 32-year-old fullback joined the Roosters in 1997 and made his first-grade debut for the club in 2000, going on to play 251 top-grade matches.
New Roosters head coach, Trent Robinson, said Mini was the standout option to lead the club through 2013, in what is predicted to be his last NRL season.
“Anthony is to be commended for his attitude to life and to training. He trains hard and is respected by the players,” Robinson said.
But the big question remains unanswered: what position will he play?
Minichiello said he had been training mainly at fullback “but a bit of wing as well”.
“Obviously I’d love to hold down the fullback spot but we’ve got a lot of great young players in the club that play fullback and other positions as well,” he said.
“I’ve just got to train hard and hopefully hold down that spot.”
It is rumoured that 2013 will be Minichiello’s final season playing the game.
In 2005 the club gave stalwart Luke Ricketson the captaincy for his last season.
The Roosters also announced the appointment of Mitchell Pearce, Jake Friend, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Boyd Cordner as vice-captains.
The decision to appointment Friend, 22, as vice-captain is a controversial one.
In 2009, then only 19, he was disqualified from driving for 16 months after pleading guilty to high range drink driving, charged with assaulting a woman, and arrested and charged after an incident in a taxi in which he was intoxicated and asleep on the back seat. When woken he became abusive towards police and refused to pay his taxi fare.
As a result Friend’s contract with the club was terminated. In May 2010, he was reinstated in the Roosters after undergoing counselling and rehabilitation. The very next month, he was arrested and charged with two counts of possessing a prescription drug, Valium, without prescription.
In other sports news, Bernard Tomic is through to his first ATP Tour final, overcoming third seed Andreas Seppi with a 7-6 (12-10), 6-4 win in the semi-final of the Sydney International.
The 20-year-old beat the Italian – and the sweltering conditions – to book a place in tomorrow night’s final against South African Kevin Anderson.
It was Tomic’s seventh straight win of the new year. Last week he upset world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in straight sets at the Hopman Cup in Perth.
He is the first Aussie to make it into the Sydney final since Chris Guccione in 2008.
If Tomic beats the unseeded Anderson, he will become the first Australian winner since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005 and the first 20-year-old to hold the trophy since Roger Federer in 2002.
Tomic overcame dizziness and blurred vision as on-court temperatures reached almost 40 degrees to advance to the final.
“It’s about time, I think, I really got to one of these finals,” Tomic said after the match.