After their resilient trial win over the Canberra Raiders, the Sydney Roosters playing squad have their minds set on the Club's Round 1 clash against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles on March 13.
With a number of classy tries scored and combinations forming, particularly between the younger contingent in the halves, the Roosters bounced back to record a 26-20 victory after trailing 6-16 midway through the first half.
Senior forward Sio Siua Taukeiaho cited the enthusiasm and poise of the younger members of the squad as a highlight of the match, with plenty looking to lock down spots for the first round of the competition.
“It was a pretty tough first half, it was hot and the game was fast," Taukeiaho said.
It’s such an iconic ground, there have been so many great players in so many different sports who have graced those stands and the field before us, and it’s always an honour to play there.Angus Crichton On playing at the Sydney Cricket Ground
“Our attack wasn’t too bad, we were looking to iron out some of those combinations, and it was pleasing especially without Luke Keary. A lot of the boys who had their first stint in first-grade went well.
"We hung in there in the second half, our defence definitely improved as the game went on. It was good to get some footy out and get ready for Round 1."
For eighteen-year-old Sam Walker, who took the field for the first time in as many months due to the cancellation of junior competitions in 2020, the trial was not only an opportunity to test himself against future first grade competition but to also put combinations from the training field into practice.
“It’s been about a year and a half since my last game, but training-wise you get that exposure every single day," Walker said of the trial.
“It was definitely different being my first time against the bigger boys, but it was good to have some older players around me. Everyone knows their jobs, and mine was to go out there and play my game.
Match Highlights: Roosters v Raiders (Trial)
“I think our training has really gotten us ready for the season, so whenever we put those things we’ve learnt into games, it’s just second nature to know where someone is going to be or what they’re going to do. For me, it was about floating around some of those superstars in our team and be in the right place at the right time."
A standout performer in the match, backrower Angus Crichton - who was involved in a number of attacking raids - echoed his teammates' sentiments, while expressing his excitement for the upcoming match at the hallowed Sydney Cricket Ground.
“It was good to build combinations with some new young players and blow the cobwebs out before Round 1," he said.
“They were very impressive. They’ve been working hard in pre-season and we've been joking that it's about time we’ve stopped tackling each other, we can now get in and tackle the opposition.
It was my first time against the bigger boys, but it was good to have some older players around me. Everyone knows their jobs, mine was to go out there and play my game, so not much was different.Sam Walker Roosters Half
"It’s exciting, it means the footy is close. It was good to get a taste of it on the weekend and blow the lungs out a little bit before taking on the season.
“Round 1 is always exciting. Everyone’s raring to go and get the season underway.
“With Manly, there’s obviously a bit of history there, and at the SCG you never have to fabricate anything to get up to play there.
“It’s such an iconic ground, there have been so many great players in so many different sports who have graced those stands and the field before us, and it’s always an honour to play there."