NSW Emerging Blue Victor Radley established himself as one of the most fearless players in Rugby League last season but has revealed how hard he worked to earn the trust of his Roosters team-mates before becoming a key figure in their forward pack.
Radley started the year as a viable utility option for the 2018 premiers but eventually earned his place in their starting 13 thanks to his tenacious defence and courageous running of the football.
The 20-year-old admits his transition from interchange player to regular starter was initially difficult but spoke of how he formed a strong bond with his Roosters comrades which helped deliver the foundation club's 14th premiership.
"We ended up having a system that we stuck too from about mid to early season, [it was a] system that we ended up sticking too and once that stuck you could work on those tiny little subtleties, like combinations, and you can just get better and better and better," Radley told The Locker Room Podcast.
"It probably took me five or six weeks [for my team-mates] to start trusting me at lock.
"If one of the other boys like Jared [Waerea-Hargreaves] are right next to me, he'll stand in front and get a carry and maybe a bit of it was I hadn't proven myself that I'm gonna be able to get a good carry.
"It probably took me until even mid-season where if I was calling the ball it would be like 'yeah sweet Rads is getting the ball I'm gonna support him'."
Radley proved himself as one of the best 'pound for pound' tacklers in the game with plenty of dynamic defensive efforts, most notably with his try-saving tackle on Dylan Walker in Round 9.
His reputation as the tri-colours cult hero quickly extended far beyond his on-field performances, and his selection in Brad Fittler's Emerging Blues squad typified his stature as a player that others wanted to play with.
"Once they started trusting me and knowing I could do the job at lock, I think that's when I started getting a lot better and people started to know how I play and started support me [when I ran the ball]," he said.
Radley will be looking to continue his blistering form well into the 2019 campaign, and is expected to cement his place into the starting back-row alongside NSW Blues stars Boyd Cordner and Angus Crichton.