Minichiello backs dual captaincy
After spending the final two seasons of his illustrious career leading his beloved Sydney Roosters out of the tunnel, retired star Anthony Minichiello is proud to be replaced in the role by newly appointed co-captains Jake Friend and Mitchell Pearce.
Joined by previous skippers Craig Fitzgibbon, Brad Fittler, Braith Anasta and Luke Ricketson at the Roosters' 2015 captaincy announcement on Monday, Coach Trent Robinson revealed Minichiello played an integral role in Friend and Pearce's appointment as co-captains.
"We went for breakfast and talked about what it means to be captain and to give each other an idea of what I was feeling and what he was feeling about who should captain the club," Robinson said.
"Then we talked about breaking the tradition of a single captaincy and trying to determine what was best for the team and Mini made me feel at ease about that."
Minichiello said he was honoured Robinson considered his opinion so highly.
"Robbo and I used to catch up and speak all the time as captain and coach last year and we have continued doing so frequently," Minichiello told NRL.com.
"Last week we shared our thoughts and we were pretty much on the same page, so it was a great.
"I'm very happy [about the decision], Pearcey and Friendy are great leaders. They have developed their leadership skills as they have gained more experience at the club. They have been here for a long time now and it's much deserved – they are very well respected within the club."
While there is a long standing tradition in many sporting circles to have a lone captain, Minichiello wasn't fussed by the decision, labeling it as a decision that will benefit the team the most.
"Tradition is great and this is a traditional club without a doubt, but sometimes you have to take a step back and really think what's best for the team here and that's what Robbo's done," Minichiello said.
"As they have gained more experience, Friendy and Pearcey's leadership has come to the fore more and more and I think both of them this pre-season have really developed in terms of leadership as well. Obviously they'll get great guidance off Robbo and I'm very happy for them both."
Minichiello, who now works in the Roosters commercial department as well as handing down his experience as the club's lifestyle coach, believes Pearce and Friend have earned the role off the back of their personal development.
Their personal growth has happened in the public eye, with the duo both learning tough lessons and being forced to rebuild their reputations.
Separate indiscretions saw Pearce overlooked from Origin last season, while Friend was sacked by the club back in 2009 before later being reinstated.
Now with the bad times behind them, Minichiello said it was credit to the duo for getting where they are today.
"Everybody as a young kid plays up and gets into a bit of trouble and they were just in a position where it was well-publicised," Minichiello said.
"Credit to them, they have come through that and they have worked hard on themselves and they deserve what they have earned."