By Natalie Shoebridge, Sydney
It's the week before the Grand Final and we’re at that bittersweet time of year again. I mean sure, your team could be one of the four left in contention for the title. Picture it: Glory. Pride. Bragging rights for the next six months. But at the same time, the end of the season means farewelling some of the superstars who are hanging up their boots for the final time -whether it’s to be put to pasture overseas or to venture into another career path.
To mark the occasion, here’s a list of the players we’re going to miss the most:
Arguably one of the best forwards the NRL has seen in a long time, there is going to be a notably large hole in the hearts of Rabbitohs fans next year. Sam Burgess is making the move back home to England for a 2015 season with Bath Rugby. The popular Yorkshire lad made the move Down Under in 2010, and after five seasons in the red and green, he has become a core part of the team’s leadership group. With unprecedented skill for such a burly bloke, topped off by a knack for deft passes and impressive footwork, he not only leaves his three brothers behind, but a legion of fans who consider him to be what the Pride of the League is all about. Just give the man an NRL premiership ring, already!
Mr Nice Guy Minichiello has graced our screens since 2000 for the Sydney Roosters and announced his retirement earlier this year as a one-club man. As one of the most consistent and reliable fullbacks of the game, Minichiello’s farewell has been a focal part of the Roosters’ run to the finals this year; with celebrations of his last home game, finals series and chance for another premiership all central to their 2014 Grand Final campaign.
Love him or loathe him, 2015 is going to be very quiet without Todd Carney. An undisputedly talented player, sadly it was his antics off the field which always drew the headlines. Carney is moving up to the Catalan Dragons next season, and hopefully he manages to keep his head down and make this aspect of his career a successful one.
When Sonny Bill announced he was defecting to rugby union in 2015, I didn't really know how to feel. His disappointing exit from the Bulldogs in 2008 is something that will always be at the back of my mind, but his impressive form and impact on the Roosters’ side can’t be denied. His is an athlete who would excel in just about any sport and is a genuine pleasure to watch. He’s definitely one to keep an eye on, and many clubs would already be queuing to welcome him home if he settles on another NRL stint.
You can find Natalie on twitter at @nat_a_shoe.Categories: rugby