You can almost officially add Tom Symonds to the short list of rare local juniors who have left or been released by the Roosters in the past five years.
According to a report on the Fox Sports website:
Manly have held talks with Sydney Roosters Utility Tom Symonds and hope to announce his signing in coming days.
It’s a good move for the youngster: with Glenn Stewart out until round 10 or so, and with Tony Williams having moved on, Symonds could be expected to fill the bench role made vacant by Jamie Buhrer who is expected to be promoted to the starting side in Williams’ absence. It’s a role that Aubusson is already expected to fill at the Roosters, so the need for another utility became somewhat redundant.
But concerning for the Roosters is that local juniors, as hard to come by at the Bondi club as they are with only four clubs to choose from, are being shipped out or released before they have the chance to become a modern-day Luke Ricketson.
in the past five-to-six years they’ve let go of Anthony Cherrington (Paddo Tigers), Blake Ayshford (Paddo Tigers), Sandor Earl (Paddo Tigers), JAMES FUCKIN’ TAMOU (Paddo Tigers) and now Symonds (Bondi United).
What is most concerning about the names above is that we have released both Symonds and Cherro for what amounts to, at best, a possible two-year rental of an oft-injured 32-year-old second-rower who holds the NRL record for games suspended (29).
The Roosters are officially in win-now mode — and with Sonny Bill only signing a one year deal (despite reports he’d agreed to a second year) — I can understand the logic: they need to keep SBW around and the best way to do that is by winning.
However, if they had signed someone like, for instance, a Gareth Ellis or even someone like Adam Blair (poor season last year notwithstanding) I’d understand.
But for Luke O’Donnell?
It smacks of desperation and is incredibly short-sighted. Symonds, Cherro and Brad Takairangi are all under 24 years of age, and their best years are clearly ahead of them — especially Cherro who hopefully has his worst injuries well behind him.
Each has made a move, in light of the O’Donnell signing, to further their careers and good luck to them. It’s just a shame they won’t be able to do so in the club that many expect wouldn’t have the capability of producing players with that type of talent.
*UPDATED: Twitter user Ben Honig (@benosboyy) brought the fact to light that James Tamou was also a Roosters junior. This article has been updated to reflect such a startling omission. Thanks for the heads-up, Benny Boy.