Sydney Roosters Head Coach Trent Robinson says he is looking to put a 'month of learning' into practice as he welcomes back a host of talent to his line up to take on the Bulldogs following a busy week at Moore Park.
Looking towards their Round 17 clash against Canterbury-Bankstown, Robinson says that while recent results have gone against the Red, White and Blue, his side is better prepared after the important lessons gained to put them in good stead for the remainder of the season.
Coach's Media - Round 17
“It’s been sort of a month of learning for us,” Robinson said.
“If you want to improve you better learn your lessons from all games. We’ve played one and two (on the ladder) the last two games and we’ve been well beaten.
“We’ve understood some areas that we thought we were good at and some things we’ve got to fix. It hurts.
"That’s what happens when you play those games and you don’t get to play the way you want. It should hurt for all of us, for young guys and even experienced guys.
“For some guys it’s even their first experiences in those situations. It’s always vital but it’s not something we’re going to pass off because of age, we expect better from ourselves.
“You pick up your lessons you dust yourself off and you move forward.”
A big boost for the side comes in the form of returning lock Victor Radley, who is a favourite amongst both staunch Roosters Members and supporters as well as the three-time Premiership-winning coach - who can't wait to see the man they call 'Victor the Inflictor' back on the paddock.
“Victor’s quite a unique player in the way he plays the game with the subtlety but also the brutality he plays with,” Robinson explained.
“For us, we can’t wait to get him back out there, we can’t wait to watch him play. He’s one of those players that you gravitate to, you love watching play. I love it when he plays with the purity of his style.
“He’s smart enough to balance that. He’s had some really tough visual sanctions that have happened this year both on and off the field that says that you need to play and act in a certain way.
“It’s been enough time to deal with it and get back to training and it’s time for him to slot back in his role back in our team. There’s some fine-tuning that needs to happen there, but he doesn’t need to change who he is.”
We got to spend a lot of time and a lot of games together and we’re going to relish it right to the end. The Titans have got a bloody good player.Trent Robinson On Isaac Liu
Another familiar face will make a return to the line up as Billy Smith makes his first appearance in the Red, White and Blue since 2019, in what will no doubt be an emotional return for the 22-year-old centre.
Robinson credited the hunger and desire that Smith displayed throughout his time on the sidelines which has earned him a place in the side after suffering a slew of unfortunate long-term injuries.
“It’s been a long road back, and a tough road for Billy,” he said.
“He’s a kid that grew up in the area. To see someone so driven and so hungry, we’ve had to live through the disappointment and felt that.
“I remember when he did his knee at Penrith, and I remember when he did it on the field at training, and his shoulder up at camp, and it hurts.
“He’s often been on the other side (at training). He trains at 100% and he constantly challenges our guys on the other side, and now it’s his chance to challenge the guys in the other jerseys.
“When you see someone go through that, they suffer, so when you get to shake their hand and say ‘you’re in’, you know how hard they’ve worked."
In bittersweet news at the Club, unheralded forward Isaac Liu announced his departure at the Club after nine seasons of service, while Daniel Tupou and Lindsay Collins extended their contracts, with the Head Coach paying tribute to the trio after securing their respective futures in the game.
“He’s a superstar inside these walls,” Robinson said fondly of Liu.
“He’s been like that for a long time and he’s approaching 200 games for the Club. He’s one of the family that’s heading closer to home for him and his wife. It’s really tough and really awesome at the same time.
“We got to spend a lot of time and a lot of games together and we’re going to relish it right to the end. The Titans have got a bloody good player.
“Toops and Ice are the silent heroes in our team. To have Toops continue on; he’s an absolute credit to himself, his family and his culture in the way he's played so consistently for so long. To have him for another two years is great news for us. I love having him here.
“Lindsay came down here as a boy, and you could see him develop into the player that he is. To have Lindsay on for a four-year deal; it's pretty clear what we think of him, the way he plays and the way he’s going to continue to develop.
“It’s disappointing, the knee injury, but his role is to own that front row role for many years.”
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