This year, Sam Verrills cemented himself as one of the Roosters’ brightest young prospects and played a pivotal role for his team in the Grand Final in just his 14th first grade appearance.
The 20-year-old star has a fan in fellow hooker and Blues assistant coach Danny Buderus, who is impressed by the youngster’s vision and decision making under pressure.
“Straight away you think about his pass, his vision and the way he can bring players onto the ball,” Buderus said.
“He picks his time when to fit into the structures of the team, but also picks his time to go out of those and doesn’t miss an opportunity to do so.”
The Avalon Bulldogs junior made his debut in April in a Round 6 Grand Final replay against the Melbourne Storm, where he played seven minutes.
When Origin time rolled around, Verrills was naturally picked to play in the NSW Under-20’s team but he was scheduled to play for the Roosters the same week. Verrills convinced coach Trent Robinson to make an exception and he played the Under-20s State of Origin game just four days after playing for the Roosters.
It worked in NSW’s favour, as he set up two tries, ran for 93 metres and made 34 tackles in the Blues’ 36-10 victory over Queensland.
In the Finals series, Verrills was a work horse. In Week One against the Rabbitohs, he made 46 tackles and in Week Three of the Finals against the Storm he made 44 tackles through the middle.
The Roosters found themselves in the Grand Final once again, this time against the Raiders. Jake Friend was back from injury at this stage but Verrills rightly kept his starting spot in the side.
It was fortunate he did because he happened to experience the biggest moment in his career so far in the opening minutes of the match. On fifth tackle, the Roosters were within the Raiders ten when Verrills scooted from dummy half and busted through four defenders to score next to the posts – a moment he will never forget.
This amazing young talent is only in the early stages of his career but already has a premiership ring under his belt. He is contracted with the Roosters until 2021 and has a plethora of talented team mates around him to help shape him into a superstar.