Roosters not buying into the hype
The Roosters might have finished 15th last season, but that hasn't stopped punters, experts and rival NRL clubs predicting big things from the Bondi Junction side in 2017.
Bookmakers have last year's strugglers on the fifth line of premiership betting at $10, while nine out of 11 experts at NRL.com predicted them to play finals footy this season.
Grand final success would cap an incredible turnaround from where the Tricolours were at the same time last year, and one not seen in the NRL since the Panthers went from a seven-win season in 2002 to premiers the following year.
Injuries and suspensions derailed the Roosters' 2016 campaign, with the powerhouse club restricted to just six victories to finish above only the Knights.
But with a revamped roster and a clean bill of health heading into the new season many are predicting big things from a club that won the competition four years ago.
However, veteran back-rower Aidan Guerra said the Roosters weren't buying into the hype; their sole focus a tricky assignment on the Gold Coast on Saturday night.
"It doesn't really mean too much at this stage. We've got to go out there and win Round 1 and it's going to be a tough trip up there. We're not getting ahead of ourselves, that's for sure," Guerra said.
"We know that anyone who's predicting premierships at this time of year, they're just taking a pluck and having a guess. We won't pay any attention to that.
"Last year we were obviously down a few numbers early but we still went in there with an optimistic look that we were going to do well.
"We go into every season like we're going to do well – we go into every season like we're going to fight for that premiership – but last year didn't work out.
"This year we've got the same high hopes. We've got some good key positions that are going to fill the void that was there last year. I guess we're just going after it and it starts this weekend."
For the Roosters to return to the top, they'll need their stars to play the sort of footy that saw them win three-straight minor premierships from 2013 to 2015.
That includes Guerra, who was relegated to the bench midway through the season and then dropped in Round 23 before returning to the starting side for the final three games.
In a positive sign, the Maroons representative played all but one minute in those three games, and was one of their best against the Broncos in Round 26.
With Boyd Cordner and Mitchell Aubusson set to start the season in the back row, Guerra hinted he'd be happy to move to lock – a position he's filled 19 times – as cover for the injured Sio Siua Taukeiaho.
"There's always that option. I've told 'Robbo' (Roosters coach Trent Robinson) that I don't care where I play," he said.
"I love the left edge, I love the right edge and I love the middle. It's all much of a muchness for me. As long as I'm out there, I'm enjoying my footy."
This article first appeared on NRL.COM