Manu the odd man out on Roosters 'retirement' edge

"We call it the 'Retirement Edge'."

At just 23 years of age, Joey Manu is feeling like the odd man out on the Roosters' right edge.

Playing outside the Kiwis centre is 33-year-old winger Brett Morris (251 games), while 32-year-old Mitch Aubusson (288) defends on his inside and next to him is 35-year-old halfback Cooper Cronk, who will make his 375th and last NRL appearance in Sunday's grand final against Canberra at ANZ Stadium.

"I love playing with those guys and they like having me there because I keep the average age down," Manu said.

With Manu playing fullback during back-to-back matches against Wests Tigers and North Queensland, Aubusson noted that the entire Roosters right edge had been over the age of 30 after Morris shifted to centre and 31-year-old England international Ryan Hall came onto the wing.

Cronk said: "They are calling it the 'Retirement Edge' and Joey gets thrown into the middle of it. For us it's a bit like Daddy Day Care ... and we've got to take care of him".

Match: Roosters v Raiders

Grand Final -

Full Time
Roosters

Home Team

Roosters

Scored 14 points
Raiders

Away Team

Raiders

Scored 8 points

Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network

After growing up watching Morris play for St George Illawarra, Canterbury, NSW and Australia, Manu is relishing the opportunity to play alongside him this season.

"He has been around for a fair while and I used to love watching him because he has obviously scored a lot of tries," Manu said of Morris.

"As a kid you focus on those sort of players, so he was someone I used to watch a lot and I have really enjoyed getting the chance to play with him.

"He has got a lot of knowledge about the game and I love to listen to that sort of stuff. Even when he was injured he was telling me stuff about how to improve and talking to me about my game.

"It is just simple stuff, like what he is thinking on defence or if I did something he thinks I could have done better.

"We have gelled together, knowing what each other is thinking and he knows how I want to attack and defend so it has been good. He is still pretty fast even though he has gotten older. I trust him if I give him good ball that he will finish it."

After four seasons with the Bulldogs, Morris said he joined the Roosters this year after a meeting with coach Trent Robinson left him convinced that he could add another premiership to the one he won in 2009 with the Dragons.

However, he was not guaranteed a starting spot and had to vie with Hall, Billy Smith and Matt Ikavalu for the opportunity to join the elite group of players to have won grand finals with two clubs.

"It's great to finally make another grand final," Morris said.

"At one stage it was probably looking like I was heading over to England. I am at the back end of my career but the way I try to train and play is to give 100 per cent and not let anyone down.

"I think that is one of the qualities that has got me through my career to this date and with the squad here you have got to earn that trust and build that trust. I was here pretty early in the pre-season when most of the boys were still on holidays and slugging it out.

"Robbo obviously thought I still had a lot to offer, especially being a winger for so long in this competition. He believed I could do a job for the side and I have tried to repay the trust he has put in me."

With Morris signing a two-year contract and Aubusson recently extending his deal until the end of next season, Cronk is the only member of the Roosters' right edge who is actually retiring.

While he does not want to become an NRL coach, Cronk said he would be happy to continue helping Manu and other team-mates to improve their games.

"I like Joey, he is a good kid. I am almost 15 years older than him but we still get on really well," Cronk said.

"He is a talented kid, he can do a lot of things on the footy field that not a lot of other people can and he is tough.

"He'll probably brush my phone calls next year but at least we will be able to catch up for a coffee. I take a lot of pride in passing on knowledge or helping other guys who haven't experienced a few different things in their career. Obviously age plays a part in that."

Tickets for the NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final 2019 are now on sale to the general public.

Tickets are available through Ticketek and nrl.com/tickets.