Sironen name won’t weigh down Curtis if nod comes
May 24, 2012
THE Sironen legacy at the Tigers is set to live on, with Curtis Sironen poised to make his NRL debut for the club almost 14 years after his father called it a day.
Just three lower-grade games back from a major shoulder operation, the son of the famed club’s second-rower of the century, Paul Sironen, has been named on an extended bench for Sunday’s clash against the Cowboys at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
Whether the 18-year-old five-eighth’s selection converts into his maiden NRL appearance depends on whether Chris Lawrence recovers from his hamstring injury and the fitness of NSW hooker Robbie Farah.
Sironen’s selection comes after he played just his first full game of the season for the Tigers in the Toyota Cup on Friday night, a remarkable show of faith by coach Tim Sheens considering his lack of game time.
It’s a testament to his dedication and commitment, reaping the benefits of sacrificing schoolies celebrations with his friends last year to undergo surgery on his shoulder.
‘‘There’ll be plenty of time for that sort of stuff, but it’s still a bit of a sacrifice for a young bloke to make,’’ his father said. ‘‘He’s been working really hard for the last 5½ months to get it right and he’s done that and now he’s looking fit and pretty strong.’’
Curtis represented the Australian Schoolboys before going under the knife in November.
He missed out on training with the NRL squad in the pre-season but his father believes he has the mental toughness to handle the step up, even with the burden of the Sironen title.
‘‘Like any young bloke, he’ll be under some pressure and probably a bit more added pressure just because of the surname he carries,’’ Paul said. ''But he’s nothing like the footballer I was. He’s got it all over me at the same age, don’t worry about that. The skill he’s got, I only dreamed of having it. That’s from his mum’s side of the family, I think.
‘‘He’s pretty composed, he doesn’t seem to get ruffled too much, he organises pretty well and he’s a good talker. He’s got a lovely passing game and there’s no doubt all the skills are there. It’s just a matter of getting comfortable with the blokes around him.’’
Not many young halves have been able to make a fist of playing alongside Benji Marshall, struggling to inject themselves into the game in the shadows of the Kiwis skipper.
Sheens has already used Tim Moltzen, Tom Humble, Jacob Miller, Lawrence and Blake Ayshford in the halves with Marshall, one of the game’s most dominant players.
While Sironen snr is not expecting his son to override Marshall when he gets his chance to partner him in the halves, he believes that confidence will come with experience.
‘‘It’s very hard for an 18-year-old kid to come in and play NRL and start bossing around Marshall and Farah,’’ he said. ''But that will come. He’ll bide his time and I’m sure he’ll be a little bit hesitant, like anyone who’s starting off in their NRL career …
‘‘If there’s a call from a guy who’s captained his country for 20 Tests, then he gets the ball when he wants it. But Curtis will find his feet eventually and … he’ll grow from there.’’