Ahead of the Sydney Roosters' clash with the Wests Tigers this Sunday, Head Coach Trent Robinson expressed his confidence in the squad's depth and the new leadership structure while dismissing any concerns around the potentially wet conditions at Campbelltown.
Fronting the media on Friday afternoon, Robinson said that while he was happy with the 46-4 Round 1 win against Manly, there is plenty of room for improvement for his side throughout the season.
“It was a good start, good to be at home, good to get on the front foot like we did. I think Des (Hasler) would even say Manly weren’t at their best last week, so as we do, we want to get going and improve again this week," Robinson said.
“I thought we finished the game well on the scoreboard, but physically I want us to nail the end of game and go after the Tigers out there (in Campbelltown). I think that’s common in a Round 1 game, getting the legs and the breath to go the distance, and you want to finish strong. That’s a real focus.
Coach's Media - Round 2
“Cohesion was good, but there were some things we wanted to nail there we could have improved. As usual, you keep building your game and nailing some things you want to do against the opposition. I thought that was a good start but it was Round 1. You don’t set a ceiling of what you’re capable of and we want to keep pushing forward on that.
“You want to have a positive mindset around the way you play, no matter the conditions. We want to continue to play our game."
Despite making some significant changes to his line up for Sunday, Robinson credited his squad's quality and depth, and looked to James Tedesco and Luke Keary - his newly appointed co-captains - to continue their development as leaders.
“Each week in the NRL really tests your character, having our captains out makes way for an opportunity for Teddy (James Tedesco) and Luke (Keary) to take that role this weekend and for us to continue to build," he said.
“He’s (Tedesco) a leader. I think Freddy (NSW Origin Coach Brad Fittler) made him vice-captain behind Boyd Cordner in 2020, so James’ leadership is continuing to grow. We know the kind of player he is, and I think we’ve always known the talent he is, he’s become a high-quality player able to finish big moments, so knowing how to lead is the last frontier.
“He’s developed well into that and inside these walls as well, so it was natural for him and Luke to lead our team. They’re strong voices and they’re high on strategy for us so it’s time for them to land that role."
“Angus is a loss, he’s been training really well. The bar has been set high, and it was disappointing to see the standard set there and having him miss a week but to risk two was too big.
He’s developed well into that and inside these walls as well, so it was natural for him and Luke to lead our team. They’re strong voices and they’re high on strategy for us so it’s time for them to land that role.Roosters Head Coach Trent Robinson On James Tedesco's Leadership
“Freddy (Lussick) worked really hard last year to fill in that role when Sam (Verrills) and Jake (Friend) were out for different periods. He’s a year old, a year more mature so I can’t wait to watch him play.
“Nat (Butcher) is experienced in our game. He knows his game so it’s great to have him play that bench role where he really holds that middle of the game together for us, but it’s time for him to start.
Robinson also gave a timely update on Jake Friend, and gave his thoughts on the opposition this weekend.
“He’s been very good," he said of Friend.
"He had symptoms on Sunday as you would expect, he recovered well on Monday as he does – as he has done – so we can’t take that into account too much.
"He’s got one more specialist to see and we’ll sit down and discuss where he’s at next week between coach, doctor and player and see what’s next.
“There’s some slight changes there with Adam (Doueihi) coming in at five-eighth and being able to shift the bench slightly as well (for the Tigers). We’ll be ready for that, we saw how they started last weekend and how they wanted to play we’re looking forward to the game."
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