Anthony Minichiello is a name synonymous with rugby league, and he has proven over the last decade to be one of the most popular players of his era.
A centre and five-eighth during his junior footy days, he was spotted by rugby league legend Arthur Beetson in 1996 and quickly signed to the Sydney Roosters. In 2000, aged 19, Minichiello made his first-grade debut on the wing. He later switched to fullback under coach Ricky Stuart – a move that pre-empted immediate selection to the NSW and Australian teams.
Over the next two years, everything Minichiello touched turned to gold. A string of team and individual successes followed, culminating in the 2005 Golden Boot Award, crowning Minichiello the world’s best rugby league player.
Persistent back, neck and ankle problems put a cruel stop to Minichiello’s ascendency in 2006, forcing him to rebuild his body from scratch over an arduous three-year period.
In 2010, he made a triumphant return to the Roosters, turning back the clock to lead a young side to the NRL Grand Final.
Now aged 32, Minichiello is a veteran of over 240 first-grade games at the Sydney Roosters and just last year broke the club’s try-scoring record.
In 2013, he will captain the Italian national side in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.
1999 – Capped for Italy in the inaugural Mediterranean Cup
2000 – NRL Runners-up
2001 – NSW City
2002 – NRL Premiers
2003 – NRL Runners-up, World Club Champions, NSW State of Origin, Australian Kangaroos Tour
2004 – NRL Runners-up, Dally M Fullback of the Year, NSW State of Origin (Player’s Player), Harry Sunderland Medallist (Australian Kangaroos Best International Player)
2005 – NSW State of Origin, Wally Lewis Medallist (Origin Player of the Series), Tri Nations Champion, Harry Sunderland Medallist (Australian Kangaroos Best International Player), International Best Back, Golden Boot Winner (International Player of the Year).
2007 – NSW State of Origin
2010 – NRL Runners-up
2011 – Captain of Italy’s World Cup side, NSW State of Origin, highest try-scorer in Sydney Roosters history
2012 – Signed a one-year extension with the Sydney Roosters to keep him at the club through to the end of 2013