Luke O’Donnell’s possible NRL return with the Sydney Roosters and why that’s a horrible idea

O'Donnell following that splits tackle that tore a muscle. Image credit Courier-Mail

O’Donnell following that splits tackle that tore a muscle. Image credit Courier-Mail

The Twittersphere  went berserk on Saturday with rumours that not only is Luke O’Donnell keen to come back to the NRL, but that the Roosters had been linked to him.

The interest has since been confirmed in the Sunday Telegraph:

THE Sydney Roosters are on the cusp of landing another major signing by recruiting former NSW and Test backrower Luke O’Donnell to Bondi Junction.

Less than a month after finalising a four-year deal for NSW centre Michael Jennings to switch from Penrith, the Roosters are positioned to land another big name.

 In order for the O’Donnell deal to get the green-light from the NRL, the Roosters need to move at least two fringe backrowers.

Tom Symonds, Brad Takairangi and Anthony Cherrington have been identified as players who could make way for the 32-year-old, with club officials discussing the possibility of loaning local junior Symonds to a UK Super League club for one season before he returns in 2014.

Roosters recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan reluctantly confirmed the Roosters’ interest in O’Donnell but stressed the deal was far from being finalised.

“We’re interested if a lot of things could happen, but it’s a long way off happening,” O’Sullivan said.

What the fuck?!?! Am I the only one who thinks this is a terrible idea?

Let’s take a look at Luke O’Donnell first off and see why the Roosters would even consider signing him.

  • He’s 32 years of age.
  • He’s injury prone — in 2011 alone he was out for six weeks for a hamstring injury suffered during warm-ups for the Huddersfield Giants, before returning a month later. Soon after, he suffered a damaged cruciate ligament which kept him sidelined until March 2012. Oh, and according to the Telegraph: “The uncompromising backrower missed the majority of last season after undergoing a shoulder reconstruction and has only recently returned to full training”. Shit, where do I sign up?
  • He’s 32 years of age.
  • He hasn’t played NRL since 2010 when he was limited to 13 games due to injury and suspension.
  • He left the NRL as the most suspended player in NRL history. According to NRL 24/7 he’s missed 27 games  — one whole season and a game — through suspension. Sorry dude, we already have Jared Warea-Hargreaves.

Now lets take a look at the Roosters: a team with an average age just shy of 24 and a club that has repeatedly announced that it is in the era of a concentrated youth movement, and which has already signed two players this off-season to a combined $1.05 million per season. One of those players is a guy who plays the same position as O’Donnell — Sonny-Bill Williams, second row — with the other second rower, Boyd Cordner, recently named vice captain and declared a cornerstone of the club.

On the verge of his prime. Image credit Fox Sports

FPN: On the verge of his prime. Image credit Fox Sports

Why not lock, you ask? Well, we have three options there already: Frank-Paul Nuuasala, who is only 26 this year and maybe a year off his prime.Not only that, he’s less injury prone, just as aggressive but better at toeing the line — not to mention physically far more imposing and intimidating. We have Mitch Aubusson and Aiden Guerra off the bench. Jack Bosden’s there too. We’re fine.

To get O’Donnell they’re looking to trade out three youngsters who only add to that impressive depth in the backrow: Brad Takairangi, who I rate due to his unique skill-set; Anthony Cherrington, who has some real talent but can’t stay on the field; and Tom Symonds, who has the potential to become this era’s Chris Flannery.

So we’re trading out three young talents for a oft-injured 32-year-old with an NRL-record judiciary history? Seriously?

What happened to the youth movement we’ve been sold for the last three years? That goes out the window for Luke O’Donnell?

This team is absolutely complete from wing-to-wing. We’ve just ascertained their depth in the back-row is superb. What am I missing?

According to Paul Langmack’s “mail”, he’s headed to the Storm if he does return:


In my opinion, they can have him. We have great depth at the position already and they guy is older than me — and I can barely bend over to tie my shoelaces without suffering a hernia. Playing him would stunt the growth of Guerra, Aubusson, Cordner and Bosden who would all lose minutes to him, all while shipping out three young guys to get him. It doesn’t make sense.

I agree with the following tweet from @RoostersAreGod:




4 responses to “Luke O’Donnell’s possible NRL return with the Sydney Roosters and why that’s a horrible idea

  1. Pingback: The Sydney Roosters poised to actually sign Luke O’Donnell — youth movement makes may for “win now” | 26 Rounds·

    • I’ve said a few times he’s made me look silly for saying this — and the Raiders game showed me how important he is to this team now. Totally turned me around, but if they don’t re-sign him then they gave all those young guys away for one year of LOD.

      However, he’s been a blessing — who knew he’d kill it as a front-rower?


  2. Pingback: Season Review: It’s over… for now. But the window’s ajar for another year at least | 26 Rounds·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s