Sam Verrills has declared he will never stop loving the Sydney Roosters after detailing the tough conversation that sealed his fate at the NRL club.
Verrills signed a two-year deal with Gold Coast last week, opting out of his Roosters contract with Brandon Smith coming to the club next year.
A Manly junior, Verrills made his debut with the Roosters in 2019 and was their first try-scorer in the 2019 grand final.
He was initially re-signed on a three-year extension at the end of 2020, only for the Roosters to sign Smith exactly a year later to play dummy-half from 2023.
But the 23-year-old insisted there was no bad blood over the call, after spending most of the season coming to terms with his likely exit.
“I still love this club no matter what happened,” Verrills said.
“It is unfortunate that the club is going that way, but I can’t fault them.
“I’ve been injured the past few years, and what Robbo (coach Trent Robinson) and (chairman) Nick (Politis) have done for me is really good.
“I really want to repay their faith at the back-end of this season and win a grand final again. That’s all I’m thinking about right now.”
Verrills had initially declared he would fight to keep his jersey from Smith, before eventually accepting he would have to move on for his own good.
“I had a conversation with Robbo at the start of the year, and it was a tough conversation to have,” Verrills admitted.
“He pretty much told me that I have a contract and I can honour it, but it is hard when you have another quality hooker coming to the club next year.
“For me, I’m getting to an age where I don’t want to come off the bench or play for the Bears.
“I feel that I’m a starting dummy-half, so with him coming, it was always going to be tough.
“I love this club and what they do for me and my family, and while it’s going to be sad to leave, I’m really keen for this opportunity up north.”
Verrills had planned on seeing out the season before making a call on his future, before being approached by several clubs including the Titans and St George Illawarra.
He scored a double in his first match after confirming his move, looking likely to benefit most from the form of Roosters’ front-row pairing of Matt Lodge and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
“I can understand that clubs need to know who their hooker is going to be for next season so I had to make a decision,” Verrills said.
“As soon as I knew clubs were interested in me, I wanted to make a decision before the back-end of the year.
“Because my focus is on the Roosters and I didn’t want that lingering in the background.”