Joseph Manu grabbed a special slice of history last Sunday night, as part of the Roosters team that took out the grand final.

There have been more than 150 appearances by Kiwis on the NRL's biggest day, dating back to 1975, and plenty have lifted the trophy.

But no New Zealander has achieved two victories in the 'big dance' as swiftly as Manu, who only turned 23 in June.

Before Manu, the youngest to manage a grand final quinella was Paul Whatuira, who was 24 when he won his second premiership in 2005 with the West Tigers.

Advertisement

Brent Todd was two months shy of his 26th birthday when the Raiders won in 1990, while Steve Matai (Manly) was 27 and Jesse Bromwich (Storm), 28 when they accomplished the same milestone.

Considering Manu could be at the Roosters for much of the next decade, and given their potential for ongoing dominance, he could set records that might never be broken.

"It's pretty crazy," said Manu of his second grand final win, at such a precocious age. "I still can't believe it. I love this club. The coaches, the players, they've all made me a better person, a better player and I can't thank them enough."

Manu had no shortage of people to celebrate with, as around 60 family and friends flew over from Tokoroa and other parts of New Zealand for the game.

"I had about 30 staying in my three bedroom apartment [in Botany]," said Manu. "I was staying in the team hotel but went back every now and again for a couple of feeds and to see what they were up to.

"There were mattresses flipped upside down and my uncles were sleeping on the balcony. Probably the neighbours were getting a bit annoyed with all the snoring, and all the cheering. But they always support me. It's crazy they all came over."

The Roosters were pushed to the limit, with the Raiders dominating the second half, but hung on grimly, despite a territorial and possession deficit.

"The boys dug deep," said Manu. "The second half was the toughest game all year. But I always believed we had the best defence. That's what we wanted to show, and we have showed it all year."

Advertisement

Their resilience was tested with Cooper Cronk's sinbinning, leaving them a man short for ten minutes.

"That was the most uncomfortable period," said Manu. "They were attacking hard, we were tired, but it was cool to look down the line and see everyone aiming up. It felt like everyone got energy from him going off.

"Trent [Robinson] likes to teach us a lot about the history and it is what this club has been built on. Everyone wears the jersey with pride."

Manu had a slow start to this season.

It was partly due to the Kiwis campaign, which included a tour of England, while niggling injuries and some personnel changes didn't help.

The Roosters' machine also stumbled at one point, with only two wins from seven games between mid-May and mid-July.

"We had different players coming in and out," said Manu. "[But it] felt like at the back end of the season we really picked it up, as a right edge and as a team. Once it came to the finals I got excited — I love playing those matches."

Manu clearly has a big game temperament. Aside from the two grand finals, he caught the eye on debut for the Kiwis in their win over the Kangaroos last year, and grabbed a try in the victory over Tonga in June.

He is a certainty for Michael Maguire's team to face Australia (October 25, Wollongong) and Great Britain (November 2, Auckland and November 9, Christchurch).

"Hopefully I get into the team," said Manu. "I'm always a proud Kiwi so if I get the opportunity again I will give it all I've got. I'm really looking forward to it."