Mayes joins SCG roost

EASTERN Suburbs rugby league legend John Mayes hopes it will be a passing of the baton.

He hopes that by rubbing shoulders with the 2010 Roosters, some of the magic of 1975 flock can be rekindled.

Over the past month all the signs have been there for the bunch led by Brian Smith and Braith Anasta but this weekend is a celebration of the greatest Roosters side of all time – the Jack Gibson and Arthur Beetson inspired dual premiership-winning Chooks of 1974 and '75.

Mayes, an Evans Head local, called the shots as halfback in those glory years and scored a brace of tries in the 1975 decider.

And when the Roosters run on to the Sydney Cricket Ground tomorrow, Mayes will be right there with them.

His name, along with the entire '75 team, will be emblazoned on the jumpers of the 2010 Roosters who take on St George Illawarra in the 35th anniversary of the 38-0 grand final drubbing of the Dragons.

This week is a celebration of the Rooster – on Thursday, Gibson, Beetson, Brad Fittler, Dally Messenger and Dave Brown were inducted as inaugural members of the club's hall of fame.

Tomorrow Mayes and his 1975 mates will be called upon to present the jerseys to their modern compatriots, who will be looking to replicate the performances of those before them.

On their sleeves will be rugby league royalty.

It's a fair list: Beetson, Mullins, Coote, Peard, Brass, Harris, Schubert and super coach Gibson, to name a few.

And proving that Mayes was no fluke, the man led Manly-Warringah to the premiership in 1973 before joining the Roosters.

But the Eastern Suburbs is where his heart is and he can't wait to get reacquainted with his old mates.

“I was born and bred in Bondi so winning those premierships was extra special for me,” Mayes said.

“I'm pretty excited about the weekend – catching up with the whole team again is a real thrill.”

The 1975 Roosters will form a guard of honour as the 2010 version run on tothe SCG.

It's decades since Mayes set foot on the hallowed turf but he knows what to expect.

“The hairs on the back of the neck will be standing on end for sure – they are about all I've got now,” he said.

Mayes will be asked to present the red, white and blue jersey with the seven on the back to his modern successor Mitchell Pearce, someone he greatly admires.

“Mitchell is one of the best modern day players I have seen,” he said.

“He has tremendous heart, he doesn't hide in the defensive line and his fitness level is just amazing.

“Pearce is a real ironman.”

This is the week of the Rooster – Mayes reckons it might just be their year too.

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