Brendan Elliot is surrounded by on-field success mixed with a positive off-field culture, no matter what team he has represented throughout the 2015 season.
The Wyong Roos are preparing for their maiden VB NSW Cup Grand Final appearance against the Newcastle Knights, with an opportunity to cap off a remarkable turnaround after entering the competition in 2013 and finishing dead last.
They became the feeder club of NRL minor premiers Sydney Roosters for the 2015 season and beyond, who are 80-minutes away from yet another Grand Final this Friday night against the Brisbane Broncos.
Elliot shifted between the two teams throughout the season. He has made eight NRL appearances for the Roosters in 2015 – and could not be prouder of the position both clubs are in.
“Its massive. All the Roosters boys – we’re all proud of the Wyong club, and the Wyong club are proud of the Roosters boys,” said Elliot.
“We’ve got a great affiliation now, and it’s helped with the process of the season and putting us both in good position for the finals.”
Since the Roos and the Roosters lost on ANZAC Day this year, they have a remarkable combined record of 29 wins and just five losses.
Elliot has played an imperative role in the success of both clubs this season, and believes his first grade experience had shaped him into a better player for the Roos as they head into the Grand Final.
“Each game I take it as it comes and I’m learning each week. [Playing first grade has] definitely put me in a good spot for the Grand Final next week,” said Elliot, who is incredibly excited to take part in the Central Coast showdown with the Knights.
“It’s awesome. We had a big year and to put us up in the Grand Final, it’s a great feeling.”
The Roos’ choice to pull out of the Newcastle Competition at the end of 2012 and into the VB NSW Cup has proven to be the ultimate winning decision, and a large amount of their on-field success can be credited to their head coach Rip Taylor, who took over in 2014 and got them into seventh position.
Fast-track a year, and Taylor mixed with players such as Elliot, Mitch Williams, Tyler Cornish, Abraham Papalii, Omar Slaimankhel and Magnus Stromquist have led the side to a VB NSW Cup Grand Final.
Elliot had no trouble adapting to the culture of the Roos when they linked with the Roosters at the start of the season, and believes that culture is what has driven them to success.
“We get up once a week and do the training session, and we all put in and have a good feed together. So we’re a good close bunch of boys and it’s a good culture here.”
Elliot has certainly impressed in his eight NRL appearances this year, scoring eight tries that including a memorable hat-trick of tries against the Manly Sea Eagles in Round 25.
He remarkably has not experienced defeat in the NRL this season, and he has certainly brought back some of that winning culture to the Roos.
However, while dominating the Canterbury Bulldogs in their 44-20 preliminary final win, Elliot is adamant that his side needs to further improve if they are to overcome the Knights this Sunday.
“We need to work on some of the sloppy passes we had in the first half, little silly errors and some little mistakes in defence - we just need to fix up for next week,” explained Elliot.
“We know we can score points, I don’t think that’s our problem. Some of the sloppy passes, and we just need to complete our sets and get a bit better completion rate and that will really help.”
Some notable juniors of the include Paul Carter and Josh Mantellato, but the Roosters link could see the 105-year-old club develop many more in years to come.
Players like Elliot have helped transform such a historic club in the Central Coast region into genuine VB NSW Cup contenders, which has been assisted by his various NRL appearances for the Roosters.
The on-field dominance of the Roos and the Roosters is a testament to both clubs, and the work they have put into what has been an extremely successful affiliation.
The NSWRL Grand Final day, held at Pirtek Stadium on Sunday, September 27, is the biggest day on the VB NSW Cup, Ron Massey Cup and Sydney Shield calendars and the only live rugby league in Sydney that weekend – and adult tickets are just $10, with kids under 12 free! With face painting, live music and a carnival-like atmosphere, it’s the perfect day out for young and old.Get your tickets here.