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The role of the ball-playing lock has become more prominent than ever over the last few seasons, and it's played perfectly into the hands of Victor Radley. 

The hard-hitting forward is renowned and beloved by the Roosters' faithful for his conviction both in attack and defence, but it's the silky skills with the ball in hand where he truly shines.

With the NRL now faster than ever and with more playmaking responsibilities being placed on the men in the no.13 jersey, the local junior harked back on his halcyon days at the Clovelly Crocodiles for moulding him into one of the best ball-playing forwards in the competition. 

“I’ve kind of always passed the ball a lot,” Radley admitted.

“I played for Clovelly and with Lachie Lam and had his dad Adrian - who played here - coaching us. I was really lucky. I was never the biggest lad, so he always had me passing the ball and playing that type of role.

“It’s kind of weird how it kind of evolved into that in the NRL over the last few years. It’s fitted into how I play pretty well.

Radley: "I Want to Lead by my Actions"

“I love it. I played hooker a few years back and I love having my hands on the ball. The more I can do that, the more I’m enjoying it.

“If I can build trust in the halves, fullback and the team and they trust me to get my hands on the ball, I can do that more.

"That’s what I want to do, I want to get my hands on the ball and play. That’s what I’ve done my whole life."

Now entering his sixth season in the NRL, Radley is one of the more experienced campaigners in the squad despite being at the tender age of 23.

With a young batch of forwards such as Tuku Hau Tapuha, Fletcher Baker and Ben Thomas ready to pave their own path to first grade, he now finds himself in a leadership role - and is determined to lead by his actions.

Roosters Members and supporters won't be missing out on the ferocity which has made him a household name either. 

“I don’t want to speak too much about it – I just want to go and lead via my actions,” he stated.

“I got into a bit of strife last year and what-not but now it’s about action and proving myself again. That’s what I’m here doing.

“Some of these young kids - Tuks, Fletch, BT -  these blokes that are training with us are just animals. I’m really looking forward to getting around them.

“But I’ve also worked hard on this pre-season on not getting away from the hardness of it as well. I feel like we spend a lot of time connecting with the halves and passing, a lot of people talk about that.

I want to get my hands on the ball and play. That’s what I’ve done my whole life.

Victor Radley On his role in the team

“I’m getting back to the hardness of an old school thirteen who passed the ball but were still hard as nails. Keeping that hardness and keeping that connection is what I’ve been working on."

Season 2022 is one of excitement for the Roosters loose forward, who has been impressed with the squad's rising standards throughout their gruelling pre-season.

The Bronte local has also earmarked a return to the brand-new Sydney Football Stadium and reminisced on his experience as a youngster playing on the old ground through the grades as some of his fondest memories. 

“With the level of training we’re at, the game has moved a lot faster," he explained.

Turn Up the Heat

“I feel like each year training is getting faster and longer. It’s been a lot of hard work and I think everyone’s just getting stronger and fitter and better each week. I feel like the longer we’re training the more resilient we’re getting.

“I remember Allianz, I used to play there at halftime with Bronte public school. That was the coolest thing ever.

“Then getting to play some Under 20s there was awesome before first-grade. I loved Allianz and the SCG is on another level. Now we’re moving to this new stadium.

“I can’t wait until I play into the new facilities and make it out home. Hopefully, we can start a new winning culture there.”

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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