Sydney Roosters young gun Victor Radley has been paid the ultimate compliment after pulling off an early contender for ‘try-saver-of-the-year’ in the two-point win against Manly.
The Tri Colours’ local junior had commentators and fans in awe on Sunday afternoon after stopping Sea Eagles five-eighth Dylan Walker with one of the all-time great try-saving tackles.
With his side trailing by six points with just over 20 minutes remaining, Walker looked destined to cross for a four-pointer after bursting onto a Daly Cherry-Evans pass inside the Roosters’ 10-metre line.
The Manly flyer sliced through a pair of defenders before Radley came seemingly out of nowhere and cut the playmaker in half with a textbook tackle in cover defence.
Renowned former Panthers and NSW hard-man Mark Geyer led the praise for the 20-year-old, describing the Roosters young gun as the “best hitter” in the NRL.
Looooooving the desperation in this game, also loving the aggression in defence. Victor Radley pound 4 pound best hitter in the comp!!! #roosterseagles
— Mark Geyer (@markMGgeyer) May 6, 2018
Roosters coach Trent Robinson was also under no illusions about just how important Radley’s intervention was, considering how dangerous the Sea Eagles were looking at the time.
“The biggest moment in that game,” Robinson said.
“They’re so split second, I didn’t know who it was at that moment. There was nothing else going to happen but scoring a try or Radley making a huge play one on one. He made the play.
“It was [against] Dylan Walker, he’s pretty good at getting over the line. It was going to take a big play. I’m sure he thought he would have scored. They’re big moments in games.”
The player himself spoke modestly about the incredible tackle after the match.
“It was good being in the right spot to save a try, I’m stoked with it,” Radley said post-match.
“I always try and do my best to get into a good position. I was just legit moving there and got into the right spot. I was lucky I stopped it there.
“That was one of me better ones.”
The Roosters piled further misery on Manly’s disastrous season, recovering from a slow start to hold out for a 22-20 win at Allianz Stadium.
Manly had fired to lead 10-0 early but the Roosters clawed it back to 14-14 at half-time and took the lead shortly after through a surging Jared Waerea-Hargreaves try.
From there, the Roosters never let the advantage slip as they climbed back into the top eight.
The Sea Eagles looked by far the most likely in attack for the majority of the second half, but could only get themselves back within two with four minutes to play when Akuila Uate crossed out wide.
However, the Roosters’ defence remained resolute as Manly were left to rue a Daly Cherry-Evans missed conversion from right in front in the early stages of the match.