SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Paul Momirovski of the Roosters scores a try during the NRL Preliminary Final match between the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Allianz Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Paul Momirovski of the Roosters scores a try during the NRL Preliminary Final match between the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Allianz Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Rookie Chook stars on an hour’s notice

PAUL Momirovski had every intention to cheer the Roosters on from the sidelines.

But the 22-year-old became the remarkable story of the Roosters preliminary finals win only learning of his inclusion just hours before kick off.

Momirovski, a South Sydney junior, had brought his gear in preparation to take on the Rabbitohs but in reality he felt he was merely an emergency player should something catastrophic happen to one of the Roosters players in the warm-up.

But Roosters coach Trent Robinson had other ideas after making one of the boldest selections in finals history.

"It was really last minute," Momirovski said. "I had to stay ready all the time. It was great I got the opportunity. (I was told) only a few hours ago. I am always preparing this time of the year, you don't want to leave any stones unturned. You have to stay ready.

 

The rookie didn’t know he was playing until he arrived at the ground. Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images.
The rookie didn’t know he was playing until he arrived at the ground. Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images.

 

"Just at the ground (Robinson told me). We always get here a few hours early.

"(My first thought was) excitement. I trained with these guys for a few years I knew had to go out and my role."

The Wests Tigers bound centre had played just one top grade game before - against Gold Coast earlier this year. Now he was faced with marking Kangaroos star Dane Gagai in place of the injured Latrell Mitchell.

He finished the match with a crucial try and having more than held his own against his more senior opposite.

 

It was Momirovski’s second NRL game. Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images.
It was Momirovski’s second NRL game. Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images.

 

"It's pretty crazy," Momirovski said. "It was great. To score a try was a bonus. To be able to come out and here and do my job is special."

While Mitchell will come straight into the side for the grand final against Melbourne on Sunday, Momirovski can be more than pleased with his contribution.

Co-captain Jake Friend praised the effort of his rookie centre.

"It was massive from Paulie. He did at the Gold Coast for us and played awesome

"To chuck him in a high pressure game, he held his own.

"It says a lot about our squad. We trust all the boys. Not just the 17. He came in and did his job and did really well."



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