Elliot earns his stripes showing up NRL players
Roosters coach Trent Robinson says he knew rookie winger Brendan Elliot was ready for first grade when he started getting over the top of NRL players at training.
Elliot bagged his first career double on Friday night against Wests Tigers in just his fifth game, making it four tries in five games, and has shown he has a safe pair of hands under the high ball and knows how to finish a try.
Elliot has come through the Roosters NYC system after moving down from Queensland and has been training with the squad for several years so is hardly a stranger to the systems, but the 21-year-old has recently impressed Robinson enough to ease any worries about how he'd handle the step up to first grade.
"It's sort of funny, I said it to him about a month ago before he had to come in, guys often have to get past that point of trust with the [other players] before they even play," Robinson said.
"They start beating the NRL players at training or breaking tackles or making good decisions and they start getting it over the top of the other NRL players, and the NRL players just start trusting them.
"Even subconsciously sometimes they just go 'this guy's good' or they gravitate to him a bit more and that's what happened with Brendan, he sort of passed that test with the guys then the opportunities came where he's been able to play more NRL."
Robinson said Elliot has had some good one-on-one battles with representative centres Michael Jennings and Blake Ferguson at training and has done a good job.
Elliot's teammates were also full of praise for the youngster.
"He's been enormous, he's been consistent since day one," prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves said.
"He's got some speed there and he's definitely safe in defence, he's been outstanding for us the last few weeks and we're quite lucky to have someone like him in our side to stand up and fill the spot for [Shaun Kenny-Dowall]."
Five-eighth James Maloney said Elliot is the type of player who comes in and no-one loses any confidence whether he's filling in at left centre – as he did recently when Jennings was out – or on the right wing as he currently is with Kenny-Dowall out.
"Everyone knows how good a job he does. He's done it at left centre, he's done it on the wing, he fills in and always does a great job and got a couple for us there tonight," Maloney said.
"He's been training with us for a while now, a few years, he's got a lot of respect amongst the boys how he goes about himself, there's no doubts or questions when he's named in the side that he'll do a good job.
"He came up with a big play for us against the Warriors [scoring a try in Round 14] in a tight game, he's done a lot of things that have been really big plays for us so it's great to have that sort of depth in the side to bring in these young kids."
Elliot himself said that try against the Warriors in a narrow 25-21 win was the moment that "flicked the switch" for him and made him realise he could compete at a first grade level.
"I'm feeling confident now. All the boys are very helpful, if I'm stuck with anything or I'm struggling, everyone gets around you," he said.
"I'm feeling a lot more confident out there. I don't feel out of place."