Sydney Roosters Head Coach Trent Robinson is looking towards another instalment of the Ron Coote Cup this Friday against South Sydney as forward Isaac Liu reaches the 200 game milestone in the Red, White and Blue.
Having played all his games under the Roosters' current mentor, Liu will become the 11th player in Club history to reach the double-century, and Robinson was quick to praise the departing New Zealand and Samoan International.
“He debuted in 2013 and just before he departs, he gets to play his 200th and go into rare air at the Sydney Roosters," Robinson reminisced.
“It’s such a privilege to coach as low maintenance a player as you can get. He knows his task, he’s detail-driven and he’s played with an amazing capacity to improve himself year on year.
“I can’t speak highly enough of him. He’s just an incredible player for us and no one whispers his name. We’ve been built on some star players, but we’ve also been built on players like Ice.
Coach's Media - Round 24
“He’s shy, but also now very confident in who he is as a person. There is never a wasted word from Ice - if he doesn’t need to speak, he doesn’t, and if he does need to speak, he thinks twice. He’ll say what he needs to say.
“He’s a very popular member of our group. He’s one of those people that you gravitate to, it’s a bit like Joey Manu; you don’t expect a lot back but being around those guys is really important. When he says something, it sticks because he’s thought about it, and it means something to him.
“He is a detailed guy. He’ll write as much as anybody in our meetings and he’ll be precise about the way he goes about playing his game. If you watch him play a game, you’ll marvel at the detailed nature of either his footwork or the way that he passes the ball or makes a tackle.
“I’m just so chuffed that he’s getting to play 200 games here before he heads closer to home. I’m going to enjoy the number of games I’ve got left with Ice."
The three-time Premiership winning coach says that his side will be well-prepared in a top-four battle with long-standing rivals the South Sydney Rabbitohs and backed his new-look line up to contest with their more fancied opponents.
“There always is and we’re looking forward to it,” he said.
“Mentally we’ll be in the right spot and be ready to play. It’s about us executing the game plan that we want to play. We’re very clear on what we want to do and how we want to go about playing and that’s just about fine-tuning it over the next few days.
“These are the games you really look forward to and the contest will be on, and we want to charge at it. We need to get the new combinations together and execute them well.
“We look forward to getting out there and resuming the long-standing history that we have with our neighbours.”
I’m just so chuffed that he’s getting to play 200 games here before he heads closer to home. I’m going to enjoy the number of games I’ve got left with Ice.Trent Robinson On Isaac Liu's 200th Match
Robinson also shed some light on the newest Rooster to make his debut for the Club in journeyman Brad Abbey, who will line up on the wing this weekend after spending the year with feeder club the North Sydney Bears.
“He’s been with us this year,” he said.
“He hasn’t played a lot lately, but I’ve seen him play since he was sixteen. I went across to a New Zealand camp and watched him who was one of the best young guys in New Zealand coming through as a fullback.
“The struggle that Brad’s gone through, he was coming through as the Warriors’ fullback and then they recruited Roger (Tuivasa-Sheck) which has obviously worked out really well for them.
“Brad had to move to Canterbury, then to the Raiders, and went to Wests Tigers in reserve grade – it’s a really common story in our game. You end up bouncing to look for your opportunity.
“He’s got a beautiful wife and kids and he’s still plying his trade and looking for that opportunity. He’s got a really nice skill about him, his ability to catch and pass. At fullback, he’s had a really good vision and it’s just about him to get an opportunity to deliver.
“He’s been wonderful to have with us and now it’s time for him to get out there. We look forward to Brad playing outside Joey (Manu).”
Earlier this week the Club announced that the Steggles Charity Nest has now raised $4.5 million for charities since first signing on in 2010, with Robinson praising the work of Ronald McDonald House which his playing squad had the opportunity to visit weekly to visit Little Legends before their relocation to Queensland.
“I was an assistant coach when Steggles came on board in 2010 and said $1000 for every point that we win by,” he explained.
“It was incredible for a major sponsor to come on board but also say ‘hang on, we’re going to sponsor through giving’ and $4.5, that hasn’t gone to the Roosters, it hasn’t gone to Steggles, it’s gone to charities in a bit over a decade. It’s incredible.
“We formed a link there with Ronald McDonald House, we have over the years but then more so this year and we wanted to spend a lot more time with them every week going out there and we haven’t been able to do that.
“There’s been a bond there between the players and some of the kids. Charities are really important and it’s easy to say that but when you walk into those doors it’s a bit deeper than that. I know some of the players are still in contact with the kids there.
“Well done Steggles, and a shoutout to the kids at Ronald McDonald House.”
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