Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson knew Shaun Kenny-Dowall’s ready-made replacement Brendan Elliot would make his mark in first grade long before the eye-catching start to his NRL career.
Elliot has impressed in his first five NRL games so far, after being asked to fill the shoes of some of the game’s biggest stars.
The 21-year-old filled in capably in the Roosters’ upset win over the Warriors in Auckland in round 16, with the club missing its State of Origin stars. He was then asked to replace the stood-down Michael Jennings a week later against St George Illawarra, another test he passed with flying colours.
Now with Kenny-Dowall’s immediate playing future in doubt, Elliot has stepped up again with good performances in last week’s return win over the Warriors and the defeat of Wests Tigers on Friday night in which he scored two tries.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson said he and the club’s playing group knew Elliot was made of the right stuff when he was putting it to the likes of representative stars Jennings and Blake Ferguson in training.
“Guys can get past that point of trust with the group before they have even played because of training, they start beating the NRL players at training or breaking tackles or making good decisions, they start getting it over the top of the other NRL players and the NRL players start trusting and even subconsciously sometimes they think ‘this guy is good’ and they gravitate to him a bit more and that is what happened with Brendan,” Robinson said.
“He passed that test with the guys and the opportunity has come where he has been able to play some NRL with the guys.
“He has had some good one-on-one battles with Jenko and Fergo as a centre and it is nice to see a young guy come through and play well.”
A Queensland Under-20s representative and member of the 2014 NYC team of the year, at centre, Elliot has notched up four tries in his opening five NRL games.
“It’s great to be able to play outside guys like Blake Ferguson. I am really enjoying that and feel that I’m getting better as a player,” Elliot said.