Mini one of the greatest: Robinson
Roosters coach Trent Robinson has hailed retiring captain Anthony Minichiello as "one of the greatest" to ever represent the club in its 107-year history.
Minichiello announced his retirement, effective at the end of the 2014 season, before an extensive gathering on Monday afternoon, and will bow out having accomplished almost every achievement the game has to offer.
Mini's brilliant career
A two-time premiership winner, former Golden Boot and Dally M Fullback of the Year, Minichiello represented his country on 18 occasions, and NSW in 11 Origin games, and has made the second most appearances of all time for the club , seven games behind former teammate Luke Ricketson's record of 301 games.
Robinson declared the legacy of his skipper as "one of the greatest" to ever play for the foundation club, and admitted Minichiello's departure after 15 seasons in the top flight would have a significant impact on the club.
"We have photos on our wall of the greatest players and Mini's up there already," Robinson said.
"That was done in 2007, now seven years on, the things he's still done in our game.
"There's a fire inside him that's hard to find in players. That's what we're trying to develop.
"You don't fill the hole [that Minichiello leaves]. Clubs roll on and evolve and do different things but you don't try and fill it. We'll have the players but... it'll probably [take] more than one player to fill that hole."
Robinson, who first came across Minichiello when the pair played in the Roosters SG Ball squad together in 1996, said his first memories of the fullback stand out to this day, and that he was proud to name him captain of the club during his first year as coach in 2013.
"He was a live wire," Robinson said.
"He was 100 miles an hour, he had wheels, was hard to tackle and went flat out all the time. That was Mini.
"You can't tell that he'd go as far as he has at that young age, but you knew that he had something different, just the speed and the fearlessness that he played with, and still does.
"He was playing up at the time, a few years younger than us, and it was never a surprise that he delivered and then some.
"Mini and I have worked hard together, along with a lot of other people, and it's enjoyable to have him here as captain; that was a great day when I got to tell him that.
"It's great to have him finish his career, to do it the way that he's done it – the whole progression through first grade to veteran and captain, that's the legacy he leaves us with."
Returning to the Roosters in 2013 after being an assistant during their grand final run in 2010, Robinson chose to leave the question of who would replace departed captain Braith Anasta over the course of the pre-season.
"I left [the captaincy] for a couple of months, I wanted to see someone fight for it," Robinson said.
"It's always good when a captain's gone and you can let someone prove themselves, and Mini fought for it.
"He was the captain before I named him. He led the way every day, he was the leader and the other players knew it and wanted him to be captain before I had even made the call. He made me name him captain, in a positive way."
Should Minichiello lead the Roosters to back-to-back grand finals, and play every game along the way, he will eclipse Ricketson's record and finish his career as the most-capped player in the Roosters history, and just the 20th player to appear in over 300 first grade matches.