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O'Meley steps out of shadow of rep stars
In an NRL team full of representative stars, Mark O'Meley admits he's had a tough time standing out at the Sydney Roosters.
But when those stars are away on state duties, as they were Friday night, it was O'Meley's time to shine.
Not the type of shine the Friday night lights make when reflected off his shaved bald noggin, but the type that made him a stalwart of NSW and Australian teams for many years.
With arguably his finest performance since moving from the Bulldogs this year, the 26-year-old almost overshadowed Braith Anasta's two-try heroics as he led the depleted Roosters to a comprehensive 32-12 win over Parramatta.
With Nate Myles (Qld), Willie Mason, Craig Fitzgibbon and Anthony Tupou (NSW) out on Origin duty, O'Meley was the Roosters man doing the hard work in the trenches.
He wasn't just tireless but effective.
With a season-high 20 hit-ups, more than double his teammates and nine ahead of Eels best Nathan Cayless, 184m gained and 24 tackles, O'Meley was outstanding.
"Yeah, I didn't have to sit back and play to a game plan," said O'Meley of his explosive performance.
"I had pretty much free range to play as much footy and tough footy as I could, which was good.
"I felt pretty good. Thanks to City-Country, I played a lot of minutes and my fitness has been good and the motor is running well so I just let it run."
O'Meley's effort not only set the platform for his side but was a barometer for the young forwards like Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Mickey and Lopini Paea, David Shillington and debutant Anthony Cherrington to rise to.
The 10-year veteran said there was a lot to like about the pack of Roosters forwards, who may not be as outspoken or fiery as himself but still get the job done all the same.
"We're a different type of pack," he said.
"I've been in other teams where you talk and belt your chest and blokes pump up.
"But this sort of pack, they're more intelligent and listen and they just play basic footy.
"They know that (basic footy) can get them through the big games and you don't have to beat your chest and carry on.
"I just think if I be a bit cocky and confident, it can show them that there is a good feeling around the joint instead of being down and serious all the time."