Dream NRL debut for history-making Roosters trio
They are the farm-yard Roosters who have become overnight history-makers yet the trio of debutant try-scorers are not flash in the pan success stories if you ask club insiders.
Sean O'Sullivan, Paul Momirovski and Poasa Faamausili became the first threesome of NRL debutants to score on debut when they crossed in the 20-12 victory against Gold Coast at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday night.
The only other time that has happened in the ARL/NRL competition was when Wally Lewis, Brett Le Man and Joey Kilroy scored in Brisbane Broncos' first game of 1988, against Manly. But that could not be genuinely regarded as "first grade" debuts as each were established in the Brisbane competition.
The trio have been in the Roosters system for years as part of a generation of young talent that is starting to blossom and prove what strong depth Trent Robinson's squad has.
Momirovski, 22 on Thursday, is a Souths junior who was captain of the title-winning Roosters SG Ball (under-18s) side of 2014, playing alongside Latrell Mitchell, Faamausili and Connor Watson – a team that beat a Penrith side that included Ivan Cleary in the final. Momirovski played for the NSW under-18s with Mitchell, Matt Dufty, Sione Mata'utia, Tom Trbojevic and Tevita Pangai jnr that season.
He was alongside Faamausili, also 22, Nat Butcher, 20, Victor Radley, 20, Joseph Manu, 22, and Sitili Tupouniua, 21, (who made his NRL debut in round 16) in the Roosters' under-20s side that also beat Penrith in the final in 2016. However, reconstructions on each shoulder in 2015 and '16 have slowed Momirovski's progress.
O'Sullivan, the youngest of the trio at 19, has had a whirlwind past month. He was called in to the NSW Residents side after first being overlooked and was the Blues' best, setting up three tries and scoring another in the first half.
He was named to play in the State of Origin curtain-raiser last Wednesday for the NSW under-20s but withdrew ahead of his impressive NRL debut, picking up a somewhat controversial try in the first half.
"I can't believe my dream finally came true, I'm just over the moon with winning, debuting and scoring a try," O'Sullivan told roosters.com.au.
"The last two or three months have been a bit of a roller-coaster; things I haven't planned have happened.
"I'm just grateful to not expect things and work hard and … whatever happens, happens.
"It's something (three debutants scoring tries) we'll laugh about in the next couple of years. It was awesome to debut with guys you've played the whole year with up at Wyong."
Robinson made a point after the match to say how much faith he had with not just his debutants but the young Roosters who have kept the side together through the Origin period like Radley, Butcher (who turns 20 next week) and Lindsay Collins who is 22 and played in his fifth NRL game.
The coach decided a month ago to rest his three Origin players James Tedesco, Mitchell and Boyd Cordner for the Titans clash, such was his faith in his unheralded deputies.
"We had a lot of trust in our squad," Robinson said. "We get to see those guys every single day and we knew they were capable of a putting in a strong performance.
"I was really proud that, as a club, we showed the depth and quality of the way we train.
"You see these guys coming through they just roll into how we play straight away. Because it wasn't the first time they've done it, they knew what was needed from them and they went out and did it.
"To debut three guys is not normal; to have three and a guy who debuted the week before and a few on three and five games, was tremendous … they knew their roles."
Momirovski said the confidence of the coach and teammates led to their dream debut.
"It was the biggest achievement of my career but I felt confident because the boys had confidence in us," he said.
"It didn't feel as though we were debutants that had to be nursed through the game. It was a great environment to make our debuts.
"It's my fifth year at the Roosters now and I know the boys, it has been a pretty stable crew and I've trained with them for the last how many years.
"The tries were just the cherry on top. Just to play NRL was a massive achievement. And to play a part in an important win was better; it shows the depth of the club."