Victor Radley’s delight after winning the Premiership on Sunday night was on show for all to see. An iconic post match interview followed by the crowd roaring his name as he accepted his ring, the local junior has become a cult hero in Bondi despite having only one full year in the NRL.
Whether it’s pulling off monster hits on significantly heavier players or his charisma off the field, Radley plays well above his weight. In fact, he represented the NSW Under-20s Origin side a year young.
A prodigy of the NSW Pathways Program, Radley is the second from this group of players since its 2015 inception to have gone on to not only play NRL but also win a Rugby League’s greatest prize, a premiership.
The first was Radley’s Under-20s Origin teammate Curtis Scott in 2017 that was coached by Danny Buderus with Matt King as his assistant.
King – formerly a development coach and now the assistant coach of the Roosters – has had plenty to do with Rugby League’s newest hit man, and is extremely happy for him given the person and player he has turned out to be.
“I remember Trent Robinson asking me to take him for a coffee and build a relationship and trust with him, and that was such an easy thing to do with ‘Rads’ because he’s such a loveable guy,” King says to NSWRL.com.au.
“He was super keen to learn and get better; we didn’t even talk about footy, I just spoke to him about behaviour and how at such a young age he already had some leadership qualities.
“He was a 19-year-old in the under-20s setup, but he was already a leader and as he matures now with NRL experience that’ll really come to the fore.”
Radley’s energy on the field is for all to see, and the other side that’s behind closed doors isn’t all that different.
He was a live wire in and around the NSW Under-20s camp in 2017, and Rugby League means so much to him. The willingness to learn and accountability has impressed King just as much.
Then, of course, there’s the passion. He loved ripping through Queensland when he donned the sky blue jersey last year, and absolutely lives and breathes the Sydney Roosters, having done so since he was a little kid growing up in Bronte and playing for the Clovelly Crocodiles.
“A bit of a personal story, when I was at the Rabbitohs I coached against Rads and straight after the game I went to Grant Jones – who was recruitment manager at the time – and I said ‘whoever that kid is, go and sign him from the Roosters,” King explains.
“The feedback we got from his management was that there’s no way he’ll come to the Rabbitohs because he hates them and is just a Rooster through and through.
“He brings such excitement to our group whether it’s Rads being Rads or just that youthful exuberance that comes with a young guy playing NRL and chasing his dream at such a young age."
It’s easy to forget Radley’s age; he will line up for the Junior Kangaroos on October 13 at Mt Smart Stadium given he’s still 20-years-old.
He played in the fixture last year, and while the junior accolades came late for Radley, it’s obvious that he has timed his run perfectly given there’s a premiership ring on his finger.
“He’s always energetic and for a young guy he’s got great knowledge around accountability; if something goes wrong he doesn’t blame anyone but himself, he looks straight in the mirror before he looks elsewhere.
“You put that on top of his skill level and it’s little surprise that he’s achieved what he’s achieved at such a young age.
“He’s a really good egg Rads, I’m so happy for him.”