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Anthony Minichiello following his final ever NRL appearance in the Roosters' preliminary final loss to South Sydney.

Retiring Roosters skipper Anthony Minichiello played 15 seasons and 302 games for the Tricolours; rugby-bound forward Sonny Bill Williams just two seasons and less than 50 games – but after their side's preliminary final loss to South Sydney their coach was gushing over the legacy each would leave at Bondi.

Minichiello himself described it as a "weird" feeling, but was appreciative of the guard of honour the Rabbitohs players formed to see him off the field.

"It's a bit weird, it's disappointing because we went into this game pretty confident that we could get the win but they were too good on the night. It's a weird feeling. [The tribute] was great, everyone from the South Sydney team was fantastic, they congratulated me on my career. I know a few of them but for the whole team to stay out and watch me walk off was great."

Robinson said you "don't see players like Mini finish his career very often."

"It's a tough night – you want to send him out the right way... you always want to do more, you're not really sure how to send them out. How do you send someone out that's played like Mini has for his whole career? You almost feel like you don't do enough to send them out.

"The only way to do it would be winning and keep winning and send them out in the right way and we couldn't do that. It's hard to celebrate in one moment, his career, it's more the feeling you get when you think about it.

"He's left that for our cub, he's invested that in our club, that's a huge moment for us now but also for the future, the players that come through and want to aspire to be like certain players – Mini's the one for us."

Of Williams, Robinson said the dual international had made a remarkable impact on the club in just two seasons.

"It's hard to have a big impact on a club in such a short space of time and Sonny's done that for us. If you wind the clock back two years to when he came back, if you remember all your different emotions about when he was coming back – I don't think there's anybody here that would have said they expected him to do what he did in these two years.

"The way he carried himself, the way he respected the game and the other players – there was all this stuff around him. He's had a huge impact as well, on what we do at the Roosters, especially in setting up a certain style that can hopefully continue to carry on."

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