Despite everything that’s been said here and here, it looks like the Roosters are going to snare Luke O’Donnell. They’ve already released young and talented backrower Brad Takairangi to the Titans and God knows who else is going to be shipped out to make way for LO’D.
If they ship out Symonds or Anthony Cherrington I can live with it, even though I think Cherro hasn’t really had the chance to shine thanks to injuries and I think Symonds was horribly treated by his former coach and never really given a role to stick to — I personally think he could be the next-gen Chris Flannery, but whatever.
But if they let go of Tasi? I’ll be extremely pissed.
And if LO’D bites into Boyd Cordner’s game time — and with it his development — I’ll be ropeable.
Either way, it looks like the vaunted “youth movement” has made way for the “win now” era. With Sonny-Bill on a one year deal I can understand why they’ve made the decision, but it doesn’t mean I necessarily have to like it.
And while I think signing LO’D will be a massive bust (too injury prone, too many suspensions, too old) I’m going to pull a Ray-Hadley-in-the-Super-League-War-style-backflip: “you can either like it or lump it, and me, I’m gonna like it”.
(or at least put on a face like I am.)
The positives: on paper, it’s a very formidable team now with a big-name back row featuring no-one you’d really want to run at. In attack they’ve got two guys who are very hard to tackle on the fringes in SBW and LO’D and their depth remains as strong, even accounting for the loss of Taka and Symonds/Cherro.
And they are firmly, unequivocally, in win-now mode. They have a one, maybe two, year window with O’Donnell and Williams before they retire/move on, and with Pearce reportedly training the house down they have a good shot at the premiership this year (although I still thought they had a great shot prior to this signing).
From The Telegraph:
LUKE O’Donnell is expected to be granted a release from his contract with Huddersfield in a move that could see the former Test forward sign with the Sydney Roosters as soon as this week.
Negotiations to bring the former Cowboys’ enforcer to Bondi continued last week despite the UK club claiming they would not let O’Donnell quit the final year of his contract.
Huddersfield had asked the Roosters to provide a replacement player with Tom Symmonds, Brad Takairangi and Anthony Cherrington mooted in a potential swap.
The Roosters last week cleared cap space to snare O’Donnell, off-loading talented backrower Takairangi to the Gold Coast Titans.
O’Donnell would round out the NRL side’s most impressive off-season recruitment campaign with the NSW hardman to join Sonny Bill Williams, Michael Jennings and James Maloney in a new look team.