Fronting the media Monday morning, Roosters fullback James Tedesco and front-rower Lindsay Collins shared their thoughts on the Club's new halves pairing, SBW's mentoring role, the impact of new rule changes, Boyd Cordner's return and their excitement around the Club's Round 1 clash against the Sea Eagles at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Three-time Jack Gibson medallist Tedesco heaped praise on his halves ahead of the Tricolours' first game of the season.
With Luke Keary shifting to no.7 and young gun Lachlan Lam filling in his vacant five-eighth jersey, Tedesco believes that the combination adds a new dynamic and balance to the side, with Lam's NRL experience from 2020 holding him in good stead for the season ahead.
“We’re really happy with how Lammy (Lachlan Lam) played in the trial. Keary obviously didn’t play but they’ve been combining well – Keary’s gone to the right and Lammy’s a left-footer," he explained.
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“It’s balanced our team out really well, we’re all really excited to get going.
“Keary’s obviously taking a bit more control there, he’s one of the best halves in the game and he’s played five-eighth most of his career but he’s taking control – especially since Cooper’s (Cooper Cronk) left. He’s ready to take control.
“Lammy showed some real excitement in the halves, he had a really good year last year. He was sort of in and out of the team, playing different positions but this year he’s had the half role ready to go and he’s really put his mark over it in the pre-season.
“Lammy’s just a footy player. His best attribute is his running game and that suits Luke, Lammy can just take the left side and run the ball when he can. It balances our team out really well.
He gained a lot of respect from everyone because he played so well, he’s a quiet kid but he’s definitely finding his voice and taking a bit more control and leading us around.James Tedesco On Lachlan Lam
“He’s been in the system for a long time. Last year he came in he played hooker, he played half and played wherever he needed to. He gained a lot of respect from everyone because he played so well, he’s a quiet kid but he’s definitely finding his voice and taking a bit more control and leading us around.
“That’s on me as well, having a bit more of a voice and helping out Lammy wherever needed, but Keary’s our main guy, he’s going to take control of our team and lead us around."
There was a familiar face at Roosters HQ last week with Premiership-winning backrower Sonny Bill Williams returning for the first time since his last match with the Club last October, with Tedesco offering some insight regarding the 35-year-old's mentoring role, particularly for the younger contingent.
“He came down once, yeah,” Tedesco laughed.
“Not really sure if it was in a coaching role, but he came down to see us last week. I hadn’t seen Sonny since he left.
“He’s looking huge. I’m not sure what kind of coaching he did but he’s definitely a mentor, especially for the younger kids. He had a few words of advice for them and he just sort of said hello to us.
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“With Joey (Joseph Suaalii) I’m not too sure how much they went into, but it’s pretty similar when Sonny came through. There was a lot of hype about him and a lot of talk, so I think Sonny can relay a bit of advice to Joey being in that situation before."
With the six-again rule change revolutionising the speed of the game in 2020, Tedesco believes that the new rules introduced this season - which will see six-agains enforced more frequently - and is confident both he and his teammates are well-equipped for a quicker game. The NSW and Australian representative also expects a 'dogfight' against the Sea Eagles on Saturday night.
“It’s just faster. That’s been our focus during pre-season as well where we’ve had to run a lot more with less stoppages and that’s what it’s going to be like on the field," he said.
“It’s gonna feel quick during the first few rounds. It’ll take a bit of getting used to, we’ve definitely done a lot more running to become more fit and be prepared for longer games with less stoppages.
“It suits me. I think the game is going to really open up especially in the second half when the big boys get a bit tired. It’s exciting.
“It’s a Round 1 battle, anything can happen, we haven’t really focused too much on them so far, it’s more about us and getting our best footy out on the weekend.
“We’ll be ready for a dog fight. It should be good and we’re excited.”
Front rower Lindsay Collins echoed his teammate's sentiments regarding the hotly-anticipated clash against Manly, despite reports indicating that the Club would be 'flying under the radar'.
We’ve still got the belief there, we still think we’re at the top of our game and we’re still competing every year.Lindsay Collins
“For us, we’re just focusing on what’s going on internally," he replied.
“We’ve still got the belief there, we still think we’re at the top of our game and we’re still competing every year.
“Nothing changes. We’re here to do one thing.
“We’re focusing on the Roosters, what we want to achieve here and that’s all we’re focusing on at the moment."
“You’re sort of in the thick of pre-season and in the thick of running around. You look at Round 1 and it’s so far away but then it creeps up on you.
"We’re here now, it’s an exciting week and we’re looking forward to the year ahead."
Collins also gave a timely update on Roosters Captain Boyd Cordner, who has returned to training with the team and is looking to return to the field as soon as possible.
“Boydo’s (Boyd Cordner) back in," Collins confirmed.
"It’s exciting to see him – he’s looking fit, looking big and looking strong.
“I’m not too sure what he’s up to but he’s getting back to training with the team, and he’s following his protocols."
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