So all that talk on 26 Rounds about Kane Evans making his debut was for naught, with Isaac Liu getting the start ahead of the six-foot-seven behemoth following the suspension of Luke O’Donnell.
And the kid was impressive in limited minutes in the Roosters’ 50-nil shellacking of a woeful Parramatta Eels, showing further proof of the Bondi club’s unmatched depth in the forwards.
The burly front/back rower played off the bench and made 74 metres from eight hit-ups, with some huge runs up the middle of the park which left many wondering who the hell the kid in the number 20 jersey was. He also provided some tough defence against an admittedly-small Eels pack, completing 11 tackles and gang-tackling with ferocity.
Liu’s emergence, combined with the continued trend of 18th man promotions to Evans and Dylan Napa, justifies the reasoning behind releasing Brad Takairangi, now starting at centre for the Titans, and Bondi United’s favourite redhead Tom Symonds, who starred for the Eagles in their win over the Tigers on the weekend in what conservative pundits have described as the worst game of rugby league ever played.
While all three Roosters youngsters will struggle getting consistent first-grade opportunities this year, especially with O’Donnell due back this week and Aidan Guerra’s successful two-try return for the Newtown Jets over the weekend, down the line (as soon as next season) all three will get an opportunity to impress Roosters coaching staff and fans.
O’Donnell is on a one-year contract and might not be re-signed at the end of this season, given he’s 32 years old. And the Roosters have the small matter of re-signing that Sonny Bill Williams character, whose contract expires at the end of the season as well.
(Rumours abound that he’s got another handshake agreement for a further season at Bondi, but that’s yetb to be confirmed.)
Finally, Frank Paul Nu’uasala’s contract expires at the end of this season as well. FPN injured his medial ligament and will get scans today, but either way the lock-forward faces an uphill battle to get another deal with the depth the Chooks have at his position.
Following this season at least one of those guys should get a regular start, with many fans continuing to call for Evans to get a run off the bench so he can show the rest of the world what they already know: that he’s a future superstar.
Whatever happens, it should be as interesting an off-season as the season itself is turning out to be.