Victor Radley has been identified as a future NSW Origin star.
Victor Radley has been identified as a future NSW Origin star.

Roosters rookie rated NSW's next big thing

BOYD Cordner knows what it takes to play rugby league at the highest level. He's captained his state and bled for his country.

And that's why he knows Roosters rookie Victor Radley has everything it takes to be NSW's and Australia's next big thing.

In fact the 20-year-old is just about ready to walk into the State of Origin arena, with less than a full season of NRL under his belt.

Radley's form for the Bondi boys this year has caught the eye of plenty of people who know rugby league inside and out.

Legendary Origin coach Phil Gould and former Blues hooker Michael Ennis are two pundits who have been singing Radley's praises for months.

His teammates are certainly aware of his talent.

Roosters youngster Victor Radley gets an offload away.
Roosters youngster Victor Radley gets an offload away.

"He's another kid who is starting out, and at the start of the year I got asked who was a kid to watch and he was definitely the one," Cordner said.

"The pre-season he had, he's got no fear, and he's just a footballer.

"He wants to be around the ball all the time and it's refreshing to see, the way he plays at such a young age and the way he goes about his business.

"If he keeps going the way he's going I think a rep jersey is just around the corner for him."

That's high praise from a man who just captained NSW to an Origin series victory.

Radley's own game and standing within the Roosters club has changed over the course of the season.

Victor Radley of the Roosters runs with the ball.
Victor Radley of the Roosters runs with the ball.

At the start of the year he was battling with club co-captain Jake Friend for the starting hooker role, the position he's officially listed as on the Roosters' website.

His first 11 games were off the bench, and he was coming onto the field at hooker, backrow or anywhere on the field.

In Round 13 he was gifted his first starting role, called on to replace Cordner in the backrow as the skipper fulfilled his Origin duties.

Since that game he has started every match on the field, all at lock.

His versatility is the biggest weapon in his arsenal but it's the big hits in defence and the ball skills in attack that get punters off their seats.

The Roosters recognised his talents and have locked him down with a contract that doesn't expire until the end of 2023.

Victor Radley has impressed NRL observers. (AAP Image/Brendan Esposito)
Victor Radley has impressed NRL observers. (AAP Image/Brendan Esposito)

Cordner admits he still has no idea what position Radley will end up occupying full-time.

"I think he's probably a lock. The way he's improved his ball skills, the way he tackles, and his motor, he's so good for us in the middle," he said.

"Then again he can play backrow easily and he's played a bit of hooker for us as well.

"He's just a footballer, you need to get him on the field and no matter what jersey he has on his back he will do a job for you."

Radley's tackling technique is outstanding, and he can hit like a double-decker bus.

His tackle efficiency sits at 89.2 per cent for the season and of the 445 attempted, only 18 of those have been ineffective.

But it's his nouse with ball in hand that could prove the Roosters' secret weapon heading into NRL finals.

Radley is also earning a reputation for his defence. (Brett Costello)
Radley is also earning a reputation for his defence. (Brett Costello)

Radley has registered three try assists and two secondary try assists this year. That's as well as six linebreak assists and eight offloads.

Not bad for a kid who's only started on the field six times.

Former Blues star Michael Ennis says Radley could be the secret ingredient to a Roosters title in 2018.

"Young Radley in the centre third, he has changed the whole dynamic of the way they attack," Ennis said.

"Let's not forget he almost unseeded Jake Friend from the dummy-half role early in the season, but so much confidence that (coach Trent) Robinson has given him that he's now their ball-playing forward and the tearaway that leads their line speed, along with Friend in the middle third of the field.

"That allows (Luke) Keary and (Cooper) Cronk to get clean ball out to their edges."

Roosters fans are getting excited about their chances in 2018.

But don't fret. Even if you don't get the chocolates this year, you've still got at least five more years to enjoy this future representative star.



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