He was one of the most naturally gifted players and five-eighths to play the game, and now, he has re-visited the place where he has so many memories to mingle with the players after training.

After being sacked as the Roosters head coach in 2009 following a dismal season, Roosters legend Brad Fittler showed that he holds no grudges against the team, by appearing at Roosters training, in what was a pleasant surprise for players.

The question had to be asked though. Was this a return to some sort of coaching or administration role at the Roosters?

“No, I just needed to get out of the house for a few hours,” explained Fittler.

“I’m just enjoying watching some of the teams train, when I can.”

Whilst Fittler has been a fan of Todd Carney for quite some time, it’s his projected replacement for Round 1 should Carney miss the start of the season that has really caught his attention.

21-year old Jonathon Ford, who was a revelation for Newtown last year in the NSW Cup, was that man, and he has had a taste of first-grade action, playing two games towards the end of the 2010 season.

With severe doubt as to Carney’s fitness, and whether or not he will be ready in time for Round 1, Smith said that he has plans to trial both Anasta and Ford in the five-eighth position, beginning with the Roosters first trial in Ipswich on February 5.

Smith also said that in the middle of the year, during the Origin period that if both Carney and Pearce are selected for NSW, which seems likely, then Anasta and Ford would be the halves for those games.

They’re the two that are pencilled in at the moment, but a lot can happen in [half a season of football],” Smith said.

“Certainly for a guy like Johno, it’s just a chance for us to reward all the work he’s put in to pre-season training, and to see how much fitter he is.

“It’s a chance for him to show us he deserves the spot.”

Despite making his debut in the centres, Smith believes that Ford is a genuine play-maker.

In light of Carney’s absence, it will be Anthony Minichello who will be captaining the Roosters side during their trial in Ipswich.

When Ford was calling the shots, Fittler described the team as looking “pretty slick”.

“They looked pretty clean, considering they didn’t have Mini [Minichiello], Braith, Mitchell or Todd,” he said.

By ricky

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