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17 Dec

O’Sullivan could break 43-year NRL record

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Sean O’Sullivan (r) could become the least experienced player to feature in an NRL grand final.Sean O’Sullivan will become the most inexperienced player to feature in an NRL grand final in 43 years if he takes the field for the Sydney Roosters on Sunday.
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With just one game to his name against the Gold Coast in July, O’Sullivan was selected on an extended bench on Tuesday as cover for the injured Cooper Cronk.

However, he could come onto the bench or start at halfback if Cronk fails to overcome a shoulder injury to line up against the Storm in Sunday’s decider.

Utility Mitchell Aubusson was named at halfback with the Roosters training behind closed doors all week, but it’s anticipated either O’Sullivan or Ryan Matterson – named on the bench – will feature in the halves if Cronk is unavailable.

If Brisbane-bound O’Sullivan comes into the 17, he would be the first player to feature in a grand final with just one first grade game under his belt since John Rheinberger for the Roosters in 1975.

If he was to go one step further and start at halfback his lack of experience would be even more unprecedented – making him the first No.7 in grand final history to have played only one first-grade game, according to Fox Sports Stats.

Roosters players have remained tight-lipped on the make-up of their side, but co-captain Boyd Cordner said experience wouldn’t be an issue for O’Sullivan when quizzed about him.

“He’s a young kid who has been very successful in any team he has played coming through the juniors,” Cordner told AAP.

“He’s got a really good demeanour in him for a halfback.

“He’s a confident kid, very skilful and tough. He’s not very big but I’m sure if he was given the opportunity he would do a good job.”

Roosters coach Trent Robinson has shown he’s not afraid to place his faith in a rookie, after he brought the equally inexperienced Paul Momirovski into the centres on Saturday night against South Sydney.

“I think we’re very lucky with our squad with guys like Seany. Even look at what Paul did for us on the weekend,” fellow co-captain Jake Friend said.

“Blokes that have played one game each.

“To be able to step in and do those sorts of roles is massive. If we need to call on them then we will this weekend but we’ll wait and see if that’s the case.”

Cordner also backed former Junior Kangaroos half Matterson’s experience if he was shifted there.

“He’s been there and done that before,” Cordner said.

“There was a period there where Keary was injured and we won a few games there with him at five-eighth.

“Both them boys – if Cooper isn’t right to go and Robbo opts to go that way – they have a lot of strengths to their game.”

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