The 2012 season cannot come and go fast enough for the Sydney Roosters with the news that rising superstar James Maloney is on his way to the glamour club in 2013. But Maloney will dive straight into the deepest of deep ends when he wears the number six jersey that legendary playmaker Brad Fittler made famous.
The Roosters have struggled for answers since Fittler’s retirement at the end of the 2004 season where the mighty five-eight led the club into a grand final appearance against the Canterbury Bulldogs.
Since then they have spent up big to fill the hole that someone of Fittler’s stature leaves. But for years the club has struggled to perform on a weekly basis and still show signs of a Brad Fittler hangover.
The club missed the finals series in 2005 and quickly went on the hunt for answers.
By 2006 they had snared Braith Anasta. The five-eight that conquered them in the ‘04 decider.
Since Anasta’s tenure began as number six, the Roosters have only managed to make the playoffs on two occasions. Once in 2008 where they were bundled out in straight sets and off course, the 2010 Grand Final.
You may also recall that it was Dally M Medallist Todd Carney at five-eight in 2010.
Carney has since been axed from the club for continued misdemeanours and once again Anasta will return to Fittler’s jersey.
Brian Smith is playing a game of chess. The pawns in this game are the lives of professional rugby league players. Smith is a piece in this game too.
The embattled coach couldn’t defend Carney anymore. You can guarantee that from the very day that Carney was sacked, Smith started making moves.
Anasta is on his way out and Maloney is on his way in. A failure in 2012 will only see Smith and the club part ways with Anasta and prepare for Maloney’s arrival. They are already preparing.
‘‘2011 was a breakthrough year for James and we see him taking his game to the next level at the Roosters, forming a strong long-term partnership in the halves with Mitchell Pearce’’ said Roosters recruitment boss Peter O’Sullivan.
Maloney could finally be the long term option the Roosters so desperately want.
His playing style is a mirror image to Carney’s. They both run lines more suited to backrowers, both kick goals and both can win a game with one play. But Maloney is the future because he doesn’t have those “demons within” that Carney has.
Anasta doesn’t have time on his side like Maloney does. He is on borrowed time at a club which should have probably treated him a whole lot better than what he has been.
“James has a style of play that will complement the Roosters and has a high goal kicking percentage as well’’ coach Smith said.
‘‘He will be in his prime across the seasons he has signed with us.’’
Maloney is the fresh start the Roosters need. He is the new beginning the Roosters crave. He is the only one that can bring back the halcyon days of the Sydney Roosters.
This article was originally posted on thebigtip.com.au on the 28-11-11