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Symonds ready to prove Roosters wrong

When Luke O'Donnell walked into training on the eve of the 2013 NRL season, Tom Symonds knew his time at the Sydney Roosters was up.
Symonds ready to prove Roosters wrong
by AAP

By Ian McCullough

SYDNEY, Oct 4 AAP - When Luke O'Donnell walked into training on the eve of the 2013 NRL season, Tom Symonds knew his time at the Sydney Roosters was up.

Red-headed back-rower Symonds drew comparisons with Roosters great Craig Fitzgibbon when he was coming through the club's junior ranks - and there was a huge swell of excitement when he debuted as a 20-year-old in 2009.

With local juniors a rarity at the Roosters and with grandfather a founder of the Bondi United club, the interest was understandable.

But a succession of injuries limited him to just 27 appearances in four years.

After an off-season recovering from shoulder surgery he knew the arrival of Sonny Bill Williams meant he'd have his work cut out getting into the side but was still hopeful of competing with Boyd Cordner, Mitchell Aubusson and Aidan Guerra for a spot in the second row.

But when the club brought in former NSW enforcer O'Donnell just before round one he sought out coach Trent Robinson to find out where he stood and was told he could leave.

So when Manly came knocking, Symonds jumped and on Sunday he gets the chance to show the Roosters what they're missing in the grand final.

"A year ago if you'd have asked I wouldn't haven't envisaged this situation," Symonds told AAP.

"I had a lot of history there and spent a lot of time at the Roosters.

"But in saying that I had to do what was best for myself and get an opportunity to play.

"Robbo (Robinson) was quite good about the whole situation and I appreciated his honesty. He said he'd be happy if I stayed but it would be hard for me to play.

"He said if an opportunity came along he wouldn't stand in my way and I don't regret my decision to leave for a single minute."

Steering clear of injury has allowed Symonds to prosper this year, playing 18 games and scoring five tries and he credits his former skipper Anthony Minichiello for helping him remain fit.

Minichiello missed the best part of five years through injury and was told a serious back problem could end his career and Symonds confided in the Roosters fullback to find a way to stay on the field.

"I started a change in my diet after speaking to Mini," he said.

"He'd been through a horrible period with his back and had a whole transition in terms of what he ate.

"He shared a lot of that with me and it was a bit slow at first, but it helped me put on more body mass ... and that's certainly helped me steer clear of injury this year.

"I came in to first grade at 20 and playing in the forwards my body probably hadn't developed but now I feel a lot healthier."

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