Minichiello set to stay at Bondi

It has been a week from hell for the Sydney Roosters but they could finally receive a much-needed boost in the coming weeks with fullback Anthony Minichiello close to signing a new deal with the club.<br><br>Despite reports that the former NSW and Australian custodian would have to take a massive pay cut or look overseas in 2010, it is understood that Minichiello could put pen to paper within a month as he eyes a long-awaited comeback from the ankle injury that has seen him sidelined since Round 2.<br><br>His signature at least provides something to look forward to following another heartbreaking loss over the weekend against North Queensland – the result confounded by a serious injury to captain Braith Anasta and coach Brad Fittler’s own off-field dramas.<br><br>“It [contract talks] is actually going quite well,” Minichiello told NRL.com today.<br><br>“The Roosters obviously put in an offer now and we’re just working through that so hopefully I can stay at the club.<br><br>“It’s definitely my first preference.<br><br>“The Roosters have shown me a lot of loyalty over the past few years when I’ve been injured so I’d like to think I can return the favour.<br><br>“I’m not in any great hurry at the moment to sign anything but we’ll keep working through it when the opportunity arises in the next few weeks.”<br><br>Minichiello has been linked with a move to France alongside fellow league converts Mark Gasnier, Craig Gower and Sonny Bill Williams next season and has refused to rule out a change of codes but insisted it wasn’t high on his list of priorities.<br><br>“Overseas is an option for everyone these days I suppose – you always need to look at different areas,” he said.<br><br>“But my main worry at the moment is getting back on the field and if I can get something sorted out with the Roosters in the meantime, even better.”<br><br>Minichiello has been sorely missed by the Roosters in recent weeks – the cellar-dwellers having lost two games in a row by the narrowest of margins and clearly lacking a killer touch.<br><br>Plagued by chronic back problems over the past four seasons, he appeared to have finally overcome the injury this season but a badly broken foot against Canberra in Round 2 cruelled his hopes of a triumphant return.<br><br>He has been sidelined since but having started running again is now eyeing a return in three weeks.<br><br>“I’ve been running for the last two weeks now and will be stepping it all up again this week,” he said.<br><br>“It’s come along well – I’ve just got to check with the specialist to make sure there are no more problems.”<br><br>Manager David Riolo said he was confident the 29-year-old could still produce his best football despite such limited game time in recent years.<br><br>“To be honest I don’t ever recall seeing him look so fit,” Riolo said.<br><br>“It could be that the ankle injury proves to be the best thing that’s happened to him.<br><br>“He has struggled with his back for a while but he has had a few months out now without having to worry about the back so the rest might have done his body good.”<br><br>Asked about Minichiello’s future, Riolo said: “I think you’ll probably see him stay.<br><br>“At the end of the day he is a Roosters boy through and through.”<br><br>The Roosters have lost their past six games but can look forward to this week’s clash with Cronulla with the knowledge that the Sharks were the last team they managed to beat with a 19-12 result at Toyota Park in Round 8.