NRL: Minichiello not getting caught up in hype

Anthony Minichiello. Photo /Getty Images
Anthony Minichiello. Photo /Getty Images

Anthony Minichiello remembers so little about Sydney Roosters' last Anzac Day triumph that he doesn't even recall playing in it.

"I was injured I think," Minichiello said when asked what he recalled of the Roosters side which beat St George Illawarra 18-4 in 2007.

Minichiello was in fact there that day, but of the Roosters side that will run out at Allianz Stadium on Thursday, just two teammates remain.

Shaun Kenny-Dowall was there on the wing and Mitchell Pearce in the No.7, the likes of Danny Nutley, Chris Beattie and Iosia Soliola long gone.

The Dragons too are barely recognisable, but it is the Roosters of 2013 that are Minichiello's focus, as they look to overturn a dismal record in the traditional clash - just three wins from 12 matches.

Four wins from six games has the Roosters faithful thinking of a return to the finals, but Minichiello is refusing to get carried away with his team's hot start to the season.

"We don't believe the hype," Minichiello told AAP.

"We've heard it for sure - even before a ball was kicked they were pumping us up.

"But where we've finished the last couple of years, how can we believe it? You can't.

"We've got a lot of hard work to get to the benchmark teams like Melbourne, Manly and even Souths.

"It showed in round one when we got taught a lesson by Souths that we've still got a way to go."

One boost for the Roosters on Thursday should be the availability of Sonny Bill Williams after he was forced to miss New Zealand's Test against Australia after having gel injected into his knee.

Minichiello confirmed the star back-rower had trained on Sunday and Monday, saying he fully expected Williams to play in his first Anzac Day match.

"He had a real good session yesterday. He's looking like he'll take his place in the team," Minichiello said.

"He's been fantastic for us. A lot of people thought it would take him a couple of months to get into his groove.

"But it really only took him a couple of weeks, which is pretty impressive."

- AAP

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