The excitement and buzz around the NRL finally kicking off has certainly reached the Sydney Roosters playing squad, with Josh Morris, Angus Crichton, Nat Butcher and Isaac Liu sharing some insight ahead of the Club's Round 1 clash.
Plenty was discussed around new rule changes, pre-season preparation, the Club's goals for 2021 and the blockbuster clash against Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles as the quartet fronted the media on Tuesday morning.
Josh Morris, who will play his 306th NRL match on Saturday, has faith in the NRL's decision making around the new rules and says while there will be some adjustments needed to be made, the Roosters are prepared to tackle any challenge.
“It’s been a long and gruelling pre-season, footy’s here finally and everyone’s excited," he said.
"Everyone got through the trials unscathed, that’s the main thing.
“With the rule changes, the speeding up with the ball in play, there’s definitely been a lot more running, high intensity and volume and for an old fella like me there’s been a bit more running but it’s been enjoyable at the same time
“I missed the trial and the boys said it was pretty fast. There will probably be a few teething problems in the first month or so with people getting used to it, but the leaders of the game are proactive and if it’s not working, they’ll probably change it back to what it was.
2021 is a different season for us. We’ve got to take a different path and the whole pre-season we’ve been training really hard, we’re in for a big year.Angus Crichton Roosters Second Rower
“As players, we’ve just got to get out there, be squeaky-clean, not give away too many six-agains and penalties and hold onto the ball."
“Everyone’s just excited for football to start again."
Morris - who previously played under Manly coach Des Hasler at Canterbury - expected the Round 1 clash at the Sydney Cricket Ground to be a blockbuster between the two rivals.
“You never know what you’re going to get with a Dessie coached football side,” he said.
“One thing about Dessie is that he loves being the underdog. They’ve got some quality players there – they’ve got DCE and Kieran (Foran) - and I think the whole side lifts when Tommy (Tom Trbojevic) is out as well.
Round 1 Media
“I don’t think their trial form is an indication of where they’ll be at. They’ve got some great players and I think it’ll be an interesting one."
After a strong performance in the side's NRL trial against the Canberra Raiders, hard-running backrower Angus Crichton indicated that the new year and new season would bring a new Roosters side on the field.
“2021 is a different season for us. We’ve got to take a different path and the whole pre-season we’ve been training really hard, we’re in for a big year," said Crichton.
“I’m feeling really good, that’s probably the simplest way to describe it.
Commit as a Club Member Today
“I’ve trained really hard this pre-season and off-season and all the boys are looking in shape. The coaches are in good stead and everyone’s got a really clear focus and we’re in for a big year.
“Manly are always a good side and playing at the SCG - it’s always iconic. You don’t have to look too far to see they’ve got some quality players in their side, so I’m looking forward to playing against them."
For Nat Butcher, who will enter his sixth season of first-grade, the opportunity to start the season at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground - and the proud home of the Roosters - is something that he has been relishing.
Everyone knows that’s the goal every year. We know what it takes to get there, we’re on a different path this year and we’re ready to get it.Nat Butcher Roosters Lock
“It’s been a big pre-season so we’re definitely looking forward to playing on Saturday,” he said.
“It’s always good having that home-prep, we’re always looking forward to playing on the SCG, and we’re looking forward to going back to what it used to be in terms of our travel, our game day and preparation."
When prompted about the Club’s success over the last few years, Butcher had a simple answer as to what the Tricolours would be striving towards in 2021.
“We’ve got a goal this year and that’s what we’re heading for,” he said about their Premiership aspirations.
“Everyone knows that’s the goal every year. We know what it takes to get there, we’re on a different path this year and we’re ready to get it."
Grand Final Highlights
Fellow forward Isaac Liu backed Morris' comments around the new rule changes, and is confident that the team's preparations will hold them in good stead for the season, but won't see the Roosters change the playing style that Members and fans have come to see.
“It’s been a long pre-season, but it (Round 1) has also come around quick," Liu stated.
"We’ve built our foundations really solidly and we’re pretty excited to play this Saturday.
“It’s probably going to be quicker, but that doesn’t mean a lot of changes for us. We’re going to keep playing our footy.
“We’ve practised a bit on quick rucks, the new six-again rules but we’re going to keep playing our footy and let the game play itself out.
“We’ll worry about ourselves. We’ll prep well during the week, and make sure we come out with the result we want on Saturday.”
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