Inside the ever-changing mind of Robinson

A large colour print of Roosters players and staff lifting the 2013 NRL Telstra Premiership trophy once adorned the foyer of the club's Moore Park offices.

But it only lasted four months. By March 2014 it was removed.

Head coach Trent Robinson told this reporter at the time it had served its purpose, but was no longer useful. It was a new season, new goals, no time for comfort or complacency.

Welcome to the ever-evolving mind of Mr Robinson.

It's probably the chief reason behind Robinson getting his Roosters to a second grand final in six seasons, along with four minor premierships.

"He's always very forward-thinking. He's always looking to advance matters," the NRL's outgoing head of football Brian Canavan, who worked alongside Robinson for three years during his time as Roosters CEO, told NRL.com.

"He likes to inject change quite regularly and he doesn't limit it to just football.

"He changes the furniture in his office, paints the walls a different colour, changes things around in other rooms, has a camp at a time players wouldn't expect it.

"All this is to break up the season. But the one thing that doesn't change is commitment to training."

Then there's his uncanny trait of knowing beforehand what a player is about to tell him – another example of Robinson always being a step ahead.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson and Storm coach Craig Bellamy.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson and Storm coach Craig Bellamy. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

"With Trent every time you talk to him, everything you've thought about he's already thought about," co-captain Jake Friend told NRL.com.

"When you have a chat or want to bring something up, he's already got the answers. That's the sort of guy he is – he's across everything and very good with individuals.

"He's a bit of a chameleon in the sense he can talk to one person about this, and another person at that, and change the mood or message for the different people."

Club stalwart Mitch Aubusson is another admirer of how Robinson makes a player feel like they are getting unique attention.

"What I love about him is that he gets the best out of each individual, whatever that might be," he said.

"If you need a hug, a pick me-up, he'll do that. If you need a stern talking-to he's able to do that as well.

"He never treats us all as one big group. He talks to each individual to get the best out of them."

Co-captain Boyd Cordner likes the security blanket Robinson wraps around his players.

"What makes Robbo so great is that he loves footy more than anyone I know," Cordner told NRL.com.

"He spends a lot of time on coaching and preparing us the best way he can. He never leaves a stone unturned and that's great for a player."

Canavan has the added perspective of knowing Robinson as a player, when he was recruited to the Roosters in the mid-1990s by Arthur Beetson from St Gregory's College at Campbelltown alongside Peter Cusack and Simon Bonetti.

Canavan was the assistant coach and football manager.

The Sydney Roosters' NRL grand final squad.
The Sydney Roosters' NRL grand final squad. ©NRL Photos

"He's a great analyst. The thing we talked about at the Roosters, when he returned as head coach, was that when he was a player he was always asking questions," Canavan said.

"You could shove him away, as a player, when you got sick of him. But as a head coach he asked even more questions – this time we had to listen to him and provide answers.

"He's quite relentless in his search for answers to issues, dilemmas, initiatives, ways to handle things. He's a very deep thinker and has a very deep love of the game."

Friend owes him a deep debt of gratitude for seeing more than an immature footballer in late 2009, when he was sacked by the club for alcohol-related misdemeanours.

"He's just a really good bloke. That makes it a lot easier to play for someone," Friend said this week.

"For me, I've known him for a long time now. He's a big reason why I got re-signed in 2010 after being sacked.

"So it's great to be in another grand final with Trent."

 

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