Why Sydneysiders should support the Roosters
The weight of a state rests on their shoulders but Roosters players aren't counting on Sydneysiders to get behind them ahead of Saturday night's preliminary final against the North Queensland Cowboys at Allianz Stadium.
The finals series started with such promise for the harbour city with five teams finishing inside the Telstra Premiership top eight, but two weeks later that number has dwindled down to one with the Bondi boys Sydney's last hope.
Week One of the finals saw the pride of the northern beaches and the Shire bow out while Sydney's golden west was left reeling when the Eels and Panthers were eliminated by their Queensland foes.
You'd think Sydney would rally around the Roosters this weekend – especially when you consider the three remaining teams are from interstate – but that doesn't appear to be the case.
There has long been a stigma surrounding those from the eastern suburbs that their affluence and elitism makes them better than the rest, but surely Sydneysiders can let bygones be bygones for the greater good of their state.
This is a match that deserves a full house at Allianz Stadium, and just to show you how nice the area is, fans should make a day of it and experience all the east has to offer before heading to Moore Park.
Come to Double Bay and enjoy a magical brunch at Indigo before you sneak off to Redleaf pool to enjoy one of Sydney's hidden gems.
Head on over to Watsons Bay for their world-famous fish and chips and mesmerising views while you sip on champagne at their waterside venues.
Or if you have a bit more time, hop on the 333 bus – or pay plenty for parking – and enjoy Bondi in all its glory. Dine at Icebergs and watch your Instagram likes soar, chill at the Bucket List with your mates for a beer or two or simply enjoy a stroll on the beach to work on your summer tan.
As tempting as that all sounds, Roosters players know it's a hard sell for rival fans to jump on the bandwagon considering their recent success.
"I just hope they get on board with us. As much as they might not like us during the regular season, they've just got to back us as the last NSW side," Roosters winger Daniel Tupou – who lives in Auburn in Sydney's west – told NRL.com.
"There is a bit of pressure as the last Sydney side, but as a team we love that pressure and we won't let it affect us. We'll embrace the challenge and do our best for New South Wales.
"There's a bit of a State of Origin feel given the calibre of players and what's at stake so hopefully that's enough for the rest of Sydney to get behind us."
Roosters co-captain Jake Friend would love Sydney to get behind his team and told NRL.com a packed house would turn a classic encounter into a night fans will never forget.
"We're the last Sydney team so you'd hope that other fans from other teams would come and support us," he said.
"The main thing is that we get a big crowd here at Allianz. I'm sure all the Roosters supporters and members will be out here in force, and given it's finals footy, you'd like to think that there'd be a big crowd to support the game.
"As a player you want as many people as you can get here, and given what's at stake, hopefully we'll see a big crowd that can generate an amazing atmosphere because that's what we all love to play off.
"There's so much external sort of stuff that people talk about that can get you side-tracked, but for us, I think we've just been focussing on what we need to worry about. We know that all that external stuff is there, but if you watch our training then you'll know that it doesn't bother us."
This article first appeared on NRL.COM