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Upgrade for cut-price rookie linking Chooks' millionaires

Sam Verrills' first ever pass to Cooper Cronk dribbled along the ground.

Now the 20-year-old is the cut-price conduit between the Roosters $2.7 million spine

Verrills' impressive rise is set to be rewarded with his first full-time NRL deal. understands the Tricolours are in the process of upgrading Verrills from his current development deal with talks around a two-year extension.

Just six games into his career, Verrills has proved a more than serviceable replacement for injured hooker Jake Friend, despite never daring to dream of anything more than a pre-season run with the premiers.

Especially when that first pass to one of the best halfbacks of the modern era barely even got there.

"My goal for this year really was just to get a little bit of pre-season and work on my trade in pre-season. That was it," Verrills told

"And I still remember it, the first day Coops came back in pre-season and I had to pass him the ball.

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"The ball's just gone straight at his feet, it was a shocker I was just that nervous about it. I realised straight away I had to switch it on a bit."

A quiet word from Cronk before Verrills' debut against Melbourne in round six – the grand final re-match if you don’t mind – helped put the youngster at ease around rep stars James Tedesco, Luke Keary and Latrell Mitchell.

So too Trent Robinson's faith to start him at No.9 in Friend's absence, keeping Victor Radley in his preferred lock position even with previous success as a dummy-half.

"When I got to debut down in Melbourne Coops pulled me aside and really gave me some nice words," Verrills said.

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"He just said 'look, you're ready for this'. He's a great leader.

"It's his last year and I never would've thought I'd be playing with a champion like him, it's such a cool thing.

"The entire team has been good with me, I know they trust me to do my job.

"Rads obviously loves playing lock but he's killed it at No.9 too when Jake's been out before. Robbo could've easily just gone that way again, he's a great player.

"So for Robbo and the team to have the belief in me to go in there and keep the team going in the right direction, that's really big for me and I'm loving every minute in the NRL."

Not least his most recent one.

The Roosters may have already cracked the half-century in Sunday's demolition of the Gold Coast, but Verrills still had work to do in the 80th minute, as Luke Keary's pre-game taunt rung in his ears.

Hitting, spinning and wrestling through a few defenders, Verrills' first NRL try had the youngster all smiles as the siren sounded.

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"I was carrying on a bit but it was awesome to get my first try and get that monkey off my back," Verrills said.

"Kez had been into me about the nudie run at the end of the year if you don't score so that was in the back of my mind, I needed to score so it was good to get that one, even if it did take 80 minutes.

"That's why I was carrying on."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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