Radley hopes utility value keeps opening doors

Roosters lock Victor Radley says his utility value earned him almost every chance he's had in his rugby league career so far and is hoping it can carry him all the way to a sky-blue jersey.

Radley has been a standout playing lock for the premiers in 2018 and 2019 but is currently filling in at hooker for the injured Jake Friend.

That ability to slot in at dummy half was what earned Radley his first shot at a senior Roosters jersey back in 2017, when he played three full games at hooker when Jake Friend was out.

His utility value helped him break into the Roosters under-20s line-up for the first time, and it also earned him junior rep jerseys with both his Junior Kangaroos and NSW Under-20s jerseys in 2017 coming with the number 14 on the back.

"For my whole life it's worked in my favour," Radley told NRL.com.

"I got my first shot in the Junior Kangaroos on the bench playing the 14 role. Got a shot on the bench playing NSW under-20s, got my shot playing dummy half debuting in first grade. Same for under 20s.

Roosters forward Victor Radley.
Roosters forward Victor Radley. ©Robb Cox/NRL Photos

"My whole life ever since about 16 it's really how I got my first opportunity to work my way into sides so it's really been helpful in that way so far so I dare say it will work in my favour as we go forward."

When Blues coach Brad Fittler picks his Origin I team in around seven weeks, he will likely need at least one fresh middle forward to replace Jack De Belin, with Radley and Radley's teammate in those junior rep sides, Rabbitohs lock Cam Murray, attracting plenty of attention with strong early-season performances.

The utility last season, Panther-turned-Titan Tyrone Peachey, is finding his way in a new team that has struggled early on. He only played very limited minutes off the bench in the Blues' victorious campaign, with hooker Damien Cook not needing much of a rest. Radley could potentially serve as dummy-half cover while also being a useful middle or edge forward.

While Radley would love a senior Origin jersey, he said he hadn't heard anything along those lines yet from Fittler.

"Nothing about that, I always have a yarn to him when I see him, he's a legend bloke so whenever I see him we have a laugh but nothing about Origin," he said.

While his own performances at dummy half may not be as dominant as those of specialist No.9 Jake Friend, Radley is pleased to be able to fill another role for the team when needed.

"I'm enjoying it, it's a really good feeling to be able to do a job there for the team," he said.

"With someone like Jake Friend, to be able to fill shoes like that – and I still don't think I do it anywhere near as good as him – but to be able to fill a hole like that is a pretty good feeling.

"I never stopped practising it, whenever for some reason 'Nug' might not be there at training I'm normally the one to jump in."

Most of his energy goes into developing his game at lock but Radley is determined to be accomplished at both roles.

"[Lock] is my position, where I really enjoy playing and think I play best at, but I'm always going to be practising both," he said.

"I want to be world class at both of them, I don't want to be average at both, I want to be really good at both.

"When I go out there, there's some off the cuff stuff I'll keep building on, little details around it but in terms of getting my job done which is what I'm asked, I feel like I did that well (against Brisbane)."