Following an emotional week that was headlined by the retirement of Roosters captain Boyd Cordner, Head Coach Trent Robinson cited his team's desire to challenge the second-placed Penrith Panthers on Friday night.
The Roosters' mentor also gave an update on the returning Sam Verrills, who was named in the side after recovering from sustaining a semi-detached retina.
With Roosters, NSW and Kangaroos captain Boyd Cordner calling time on his glittering career on Monday, Robinson ensured his squad would not get distracted by the announcement and continue on without their on-field leader.
“It was an emotional week,” Robinson said.
“Having one of the all-time legends of your Club and the captain of your team announce his retirement mid-way through the season, it affected us in a sad way but also a positive way.
“I felt like Boyd handled himself as he should; as a leader of our game, the Australian captain and NSW and Roosters captain. He said what he needed to say and we’re really proud of him.
“You just get going again and there’s an understanding when we talk about that. You get really excited about playing each week, that’s what we’re here to do. We’re pumped about what Friday night looks for us and we go about doing that.
Coach's Media - Round 15
“Boyd is still here and he’s still around, and we’ll celebrate him at different times throughout the year but it’s time to play some footy. You park it, get on playing footy and you celebrate it at the right time.
“We’re a close-knit unit. We love hanging out together and we like being together so it’s hard when someone finishes their career but it’s not hard to turn up for the Roosters and play each week – or coach or support or whichever way is possible.
“We’ll keep getting on with it and keep honouring the jersey.”
With 2021 continuing to throw curveballs in the form of retirements, injuries and suspensions for the Tricolours, Robinson said that despite the setbacks his side has endured, he has enjoyed the season and the silver linings it has brought - including the off-field influence of his senior players.
“To be honest it’s been a really different year, as different as I’ve ever had," he admitted.
“Every year is unique, and this year has been unique, but it has been wonderful as well.
“It’s just because of the attitude and the way the players have gone about it and who’s been playing and who’s not been playing, and what their role has been in the Club.
I felt like Boyd handled himself as he should; as a leader of our game, the Australian captain and NSW and Roosters captain. He said what he needed to say and we’re really proud of him.Trent Robinson On Boyd Cordner
"Whether it’s been Luke (Keary) or Lindsay (Collins) or BMoz (Brett Morris) or Jake (Friend) or Boyd (Cordner) – they ask ‘what can I still do?’ so that’s been really positive.
“We’re really trusting the group we’ve got coming through and we want to continue to do that. In the short term, we’ve got our squad and we’ll keep working hard.
“We’re halfway through. There’s a lot to go and Friday is the next step.”
Taking on one of the competition heavyweights on their home turf is never an easy task, but is one that the Roosters' Head Coach says he is looking forward to as, especially considering the timely re-introduction to the side for Sam Verrills.
“We can’t wait,” he stated.
“We’re looking forward to improving on last week. We’ve had some good weeks there, but we know what we want to improve on and we can’t wait to go out and play.
“We’re in a good position but now it’s time to go out and lay it on the line on Friday night and play how we want to play and put it all together.
“It’s good to see Sam back. He just got cleared this morning so that’s a real positive for us. We get the artist behind the play-the-ball and get him playing again.
“He’s a traditional dummy-half. It’s been a while but it’s time for him to get back out there."
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