Wing and a prayer: One-game rookie has club legend’s backing
SEAN O'Sullivan is shaping as the most inexperienced NRL grand final halfback in history.
But he's received a much-needed confidence boost with Sydney Roosters great Craig Wing throwing his support behind the one-gamer to handle the pressure cooker should he be asked to fill in for Cooper Cronk.
Given Cronk's injury was described by the club as a "severe" rotator cuff problem, he seems long odds, but Wing said he had spoken to Roosters players who insisted they were "confident" that the master No.7 will take the field.
The question has become who will fill in for Cronk if he falls short? Mitchell Aubusson has been named at No.7 but that's considered a smokescreen.
Ryan Matterson, who filled in for Luke Keary in the halves late in the year, and Brisbane-bound O'Sullivan remain more likely options and could share playmaking duties alongside Luke Keary.
O'Sullivan has only played one game - in the Roosters' round 18 win over the Gold Coast when he was awarded one of the most controversial tries of the year.
Should he run onto ANZ Stadium, he will surpass South Sydney pair Arthur Moynihan (1949) and Ray Mason (1951) - who had just two premiership games to their credit - as the least experienced grand final half in history.
"Most people will say yes, that's too much," Roosters premiership-winner Wing said.
"All that will revolve around Trent Robinson, putting him in the right frame of mind, giving him a set task, not over-complicating things.
"If you were going to be philosophical, it's a game of footy and he's played hundreds and hundreds of those."
Should he get the nod, Wing said O'Sullivan would be told to keep his game simple and a lot of the organising will be done by Keary.
"I've seen him play a bit and he's pretty crafty," Wing said.
"When I was watching him play, he seems to know his way around the field, he's got a very handy kicking game.
"If he had to play, I'm sure Trent Robinson would just give him a set task that he needs to do and not worry about too much.
"That will just be enough for the other guys in the team to shine."