Rooster Radley inspired by Matai big hits

Emma Kemp
Victor Radley (left) admits he just loves putting in the big hits for the Roosters

Any punter still wondering where the good-natured Victor Radley gets his penchant for ground-shaking tackles will be less surprised having learned the source of his inspiration.

"I loved watching Steve Matai videos," the young Sydney Roosters forward recalled.

"He used to smash blokes, he was so good to watch.

"I remember at school we got our laptops and we'd all just sit around and google 'big hits'."

As a kid Radley put his research into practice and was soon cruisin' for a bruisin' on every club football field.

Just like the former Manly centre he looked up to, there were times he got the angle wrong.

Occasionally he went so hard that parents from opposition teams lodged requests for Radley to tone down his crunching challenges.

"I remember I had a tackling style where I used to lead with my head a bit and so at that young age some parents weren't too impressed with it," Radley said.

"Not knocking other kids out - I was knocking myself out.

"It got pretty rough. I used to wear headgear.

"When I was bit younger I had not the best style but I had a couple of good coaches who fine tuned it so it ended up all right."

One of those coaches was Roosters great Adrian Lam, who finessed Radley's technique over a decade at the Clovelly Crocodiles and equipped the raw talent with the kind of knowledge that fast-tracks first-grade senior success.

The fruits of that relationship was evident in the absolute bell-ringer of a tackle that took down try-bound Dylan Walker to save last month's game against the Sea Eagles.

It's also been increasingly clear in his overall progress throughout his first 16 NRL appearances.

"I had Adrian from under eight all the way to under 17s ... I spent two nights a week with him every footy season for nine or 10 years," Radley said.

"He's done a hell of a lot for me, still does, we still go and have coffees.

"He did a lot of teaching to get me where I am today. Without him I'd probably be a bit of a dumb footballer."

Off the field Radley remains as guileless as any other 20-year-old.

But club co-captain Jake Friend has noticed his knack for switching on in an instant.

"He's a young guy but he has that NRL hardness already," Friend said.

"You can see that in his defence, he's just got a good technique.

"He can get right into the sweet spot. He's been really good for us this year and he's going to play plenty more minutes.

"It won't be long until he plants himself into one of those positions."