Facing the media on Wednesday afternoon, Roosters Head Coach Trent Robinson spoke about his side's morale following their win against the Knights, taking on the Eels on Friday night, Sam Verrills' surgery, and reflected on the career of Joseph Manu ahead of his 100th NRL match.
With the side facing further adversity, Robinson confirmed his troops are ready for another challenge this week when they take on the second-placed Parramatta Eels at Bankwest Stadium in the annual Jack Gibson Cup.
“We talked after the game and we said what was needed to be said," Robinson confirmed.
"It takes longer than usual to get over a game like that compared to other games, that’s the truth.
“It’s hard when someone comes to the end abruptly like that - in this case, two players for the season - but the role, the job, the beauty of our sport is to get up, rise, and go again. That’s what we’re doing.
“We discussed it on Monday, allowed the guys to spend some time together and then we got about our work today. We’re very clear about Friday night, how we want to play and nothing changes there for us.
Coach's Media - Round 9
“We’re playing a really good opponent and I feel like we’ve been improving every couple of games as the season goes. We’ve had some variation in our team, and I know that the team is looking forward to the challenge on Friday night.
“We know our footy, we know the seventeen that will run out, so let’s put a Roosters performance on. We’ve been really focused on that and we have been each week."
With fan favourite Joseph Manu becoming just the 73rd Rooster to notch up 100 games in the Red, White and Blue, Robinson reminisced on the 24-year-old's development from a promising youngster to a Club leader.
“It makes me smile when I think of Joey,” he said.
“I remember this shy kid at our old office who used to fly in from New Zealand and have to sit in all day until training. He didn’t say a word for six hours.
“He was this young kid that came in and developed, he moved into a sharehouse and into a second sharehouse, then out on his own and he just kept developing through the grades.
“It’s funny, the thing I love most about Joey, he’s stuck to who he is the whole time.
“He’s a family man, doesn’t touch any alcohol, he’s in the middle of the group of boys having fun, whether it’s on a night out or whether it’s in the players’ lounge.
He’s what typifies the Roosters player. It’s really special for us to get Joey to 100 games and play on Friday.Trent Robinson On Joseph Manu
“He’s highly talented. He sparkles when he plays but he’s got a real humbleness about the work that he goes about playing the game, and he’s a real team man.
“His ability to mix who he is and what makes him a great player to make him a great teammate – he’s been that the whole time and it’s really special to have a player like that.
“He’s what typifies the Roosters player. It’s really special for us to get Joey to 100 games on Friday."
Robinson also gave an update on Sam Verrills, who was diagnosed with a semi-detached retina and was not named for the clash against the Eels after successfully returning from an ACL in Round 7.
“He had some blurry vision about ten days ago," Robinson explained.
“There was no incident. He played on the weekend and then it was a little blurry on Monday so he saw an optometrist, who then passed him on to a specialist. He had an operation last night for a semi-detached retina to get rid of that blurred vision.
“That was one from left-field that we didn’t see coming and Sam’s recovering. It’s an innocuous injury that’s cost him some time.
“He apologised to us. He felt bad because he’s had a stop-start to his season and he feels like he’s let the crew down, but he hasn’t.
“He’s just got to get it fixed, get recovered and get that full eyesight back."
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