Mini's minor: Minichiello and teammates celebrate. Photo: Dallas Kilponen
It was a tackle which would have brought back memories for Anthony Minichiello - bad ones. But his effort in stopping Souths winger Nathan Merritt with 11 minutes remaining will be memorable for all the right reasons.
Evoking memories of Penrith lock Scott Sattler's remarkable tackle on Roosters winger Todd Byrne in the 2003 grand final, Minichiello's stirring tackle, in the same corner as the matchwinner a decade earlier, helped clinch the minor premiership.
''I misjudged one last week, so I had to get this one right,'' Minichiello said. ''I positioned him on my outside, and he took me on. I was lucky to take him out there.''
South Sydney Rabbitohs v Sydney Roosters
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves challenges the Rabbitohs. Photo: Dallas Kilponen
Roosters coach Trent Robinson, though, knew it was more than just luck, as he lauded that play, as well as rookie Dylan Napa's earlier effort to stop Rabbitohs second-rower Sam Burgess. ''Two massive plays - Mini's tackle, and Dylan Napa's tackle on Sam Burgess,'' Robinson said. ''They were huge plays.
''It's not about spectacular stuff. It looked spectacular in the end, but Mini worked hard to get there. Dylan Napa worked hard to get there. All they did is make a tackle, and then it looked spectacular on the end of it, but it was through hard work. They kept working hard, both of them, they turned up at the right moment. And they're big plays in the end.
''Good footy players keep working until it's time to be called on.''
Robinson, the first rookie coach to win a minor premiership in NRL history, also admitted that he was unsure whether the fullback, still yet to secure a contract with the club for 2014, was the right choice as captain this season ''When I came, I think it's fair to say I heard from a lot of people that Mini was done, it was time for Mini to stop playing, and move on,'' Robinson said. ''We had to find out for ourselves when I got back here.
''He showed me in two months, and everybody, all our leaders, they knew that Mini was our captain. I was searching for one, and after two months, it was really clear to me. There's been lots of reasons why we've had a good year, and Mini's been at the top of the list there.''