There has been a real changing of the guard at the Roosters over the past 12 months and I’m determined to lead this next generation to premiership success.
Leadership has come pretty quickly for me, I captained the Blues for the first time at the end of 2020 and then replaced Boyd Cordner as the Roosters skipper last year.
It’s been a huge honour leading our proud club, but also a challenge.
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I’m naturally a pretty quiet person and playing footy growing up I liked to let my football do the talking and lead by example.
But coming into first grade as a fullback I had to start really talking and over the years I’ve become more comfortable leading with my voice.
I’m still finding that balance between being a leader and being the best version of myself as a footy player. Last year I was trying to carry the captain’s responsibility a bit too much.
We lost a lot of senior players last year and I was probably guilty of trying to overplay in games, and that would weigh on me quite heavily.
I learned by the end of last year that the best way for me to lead was simply being me and playing my natural game.
I was enormously proud to be named the 2021 Dally M captain of the year, but I’m still learning. I’ve already learnt again this season that when I try to carry the responsibility of the team, my game is not at its best and that hurts the team.
I’m still getting better and I want to be one of the best leaders this club has produced. We’ve had some great captains who have been really successful and I want to take us into that next era of success.
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I also want to keep tasting success for the Blues. We’ve won three of the past four series and there are so many guys already knocking down the door for selection this season.
Every year there seems to be even more fullbacks playing incredible footy and Ryan Papenhuyzen in particular is in some red-hot form.
Paps has been playing great footy for a few years now and it’s probably only been a few injuries which have stopped him coming into the Blues side.
We have incredible depth at fullback and it’s definitely a healthy competition that I welcome as it drives me to improve.
I take great pride in wearing the Blues No. 1 jersey but credit where it’s due to Tommy and Latrell, those guys could play just about anywhere in the backline and still be the best player on the field.
I get asked a lot if I’m focused on winning the individual battle when I come up against Tommy and Latrell in club games, but the truth is I’m not.
The big focus has to be on myself. I know externally everyone wants to compare but as soon as I start worrying about them, it takes away from my game.
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I think about them defensively and when organising our line – to try and shut them down as best as possible – but focusing on having a better game than them individually is never my mindset.
One individual I do want to see have some success is my mate Luke Brooks.
I spent the first half of my career at the Tigers and I definitely have a soft spot for the club.
I’m still close with Brooksy and I know he’s going through a really tough time. Seeing them lose in the last second against the Titans last week was a hard one to watch.
I’m still close with a lot of boys there but especially Brooksy. I just want to see him and the club do well.
We take on the Broncos at Suncorp on Friday night and they’ve had a few hard weeks but we definitely can’t take them lightly.
In their backyard on a Friday night, that’s a game they’re going to lift for no matter what and we need to be ready.
Adam Reynolds has added that stability they needed, especially his kicking game so I’ll need to be on my toes there.
Finally, I want to give a shout out to our women’s side who upset the Broncos to book their spot in the NRLW grand final which will be played on Sunday.
I’ve sent a few good luck messages to the girls this week and hopefully they can get the win against the Dragons – it would be a huge victory for our club.
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