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To Victor go the spoils of a new-found maturity

Whether by name, by nature, or both, the Roosters have been blessed with great captains for more than a decade.

From Boyd Cordner, Jake Friend and Cooper Cronk to Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and James Tedesco, the 2018-19 champions have boasted quality leaders respected by team-mates and rivals alike.

Now in his sixth season at the club, Victor Radley has had the privilege of playing alongside all of those revered figures and hopes to one day be worthy of a mention when talk turns to Roosters' statesmen.

He knows it will take time and a concerted effort do dial back some of the trademark 'aggression' that has led to suspensions, but the 24-year-old is up for the challenge.

"You could say I've matured, taken a step back. I did love being the biggest dickhead in my group of friends but I can’t be doing that all the time - there’s a time and a place for doing that," Radley said.

"I feel the same but I'm a bit more conscience of what I’m doing. Some stuff happened in 2020, you can call it a light bulb moment, but I can’t do anything without learning the hard way. I learned some really good lessons and I'm moving forward.

Radley: We've got to stick together and work hard

"I think I have a lot of room to show leadership and a lot of time over the next 6-12 months to prove myself and get a bit more respect from my peers as a leader.

"As a bloke they respect me, but as a leader I have work to do in that department. It doesn’t come in a short space of time but hopefully in a few years I’m looked at a bit better in that way.

"You can still be yourself and be respected. Look at Boyd, Jake, Jared, great blokes, legends, funny... Jared is probably the funniest bloke I've ever met but he is respected as a leader for what he has done over the past decade, but it doesn't come in a short space of time."

Renowned as one of the NRL's most ferocious defenders, Radley says he has worked hard on modifying his tackling technique to ensure he stays off the charge sheet and on the paddock.

In his three matches so far this season, Radley has chalked up 90 tackles at 90 per cent efficiency and largely kept a low profile in the process.

"I’ve worked hard on my own game and not getting in positions to get 10 in the bin," he said.

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"I don't think it's around aggression, a lot of it's around footwork and getting myself in good positions so I've just been worrying about my feet and what I'm doing in defence and it has worked OK so I'm just going to keep doing that.

"It's a bit easier to work on it in the pre-season because when we’re getting flogged and then I'm getting in situations where I’ve got to move fast and then slow down really quickly, it's a good time to practice it so I did a lot of that in the pre-season and now it's just about working hard on game day.

"I don’t want to be over-striding and I get guilty of that when I get really tired, and trying to do it all with effort, then a bit of footwork [from the ball-carrier] and I’m not in a good position to do anything so I worked hard on that on pre-season and now in games I get a chance to put it into practice."

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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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