Sydney Roosters Head Coach Trent Robinson talks about his excitement for finals football, the achievements of two milestone men, returning forwards and his newfound halves combination on the eve of his side's elimination final against the Gold Coast Titans.
Two fan favourites in Daniel Tupou and Siosiua Taukeiaho will play their 200th and 150th games in the Tricolours respectively on Saturday night, and their mentor had plenty of praise for the two Premiership winners and Tongan Internationals.
Coach's Media - Finals Week One
“It’s wonderful,” Robinson beamed.
“It’s 150 games for Siua this week. He came across and played no games in the first year and he came as a centre. We weren’t sure if he was going to make it and he’s made something of it. We’re really proud of him.
“Two hundred games for Toops. He’s been such a banker there for us on the left wing for so long; backfield carries, high ball catches, defensive stops. It’s what you want from a winger.
“He’s been amazing. He’ll go down as one of the greatest ever Roosters wingers. For a Polynesian winger in our game to reach 200 games, he’s showing the way for a lot of younger guys.
Daniel Tupou Highlights
“He’s played a decade in one set of colours, for one team and he’s done it consistently. It’s an incredible feat from Toops and he’s one of the most enjoyable players I’ve been able to coach.”
Roosters Members and fans will be itching to see returning forward duo Victor Radley and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves back on the field, with the two big inclusions a timely addition to the Roosters' line up.
The three-time Premiership winning coach spoke about his confidence in the pair returning in the side and called on his forwards to 'hunt as a pack' against a Titans side with plenty of representative players in their own engine room.
“I’m always confident in Rads and the way that he goes about his play,” he said.
“It’s great to have him back, he’s a key part in the way that we want to play. I think we’ve shown we can play without him but we’re a better team with him. He’s a link man between many positions.
“He’s a front rower and he’s a halfback and he mixes those roles. He’s quite rare in the way that he goes about playing the game, and we just want him to consistently play that game.
“You’ve got to get your timing right with the finals but we actually took Jared out on gameday last week. He could have played but we just thought it was right to give him another week off and get him ready for this week.
Siosiua Taukeiaho Highlights
“Getting them back together and hunting as a pack is important for us. That combination has been varied; Sitili has been there most of the year, Jared’s been there most of the year, and now it’s about getting those combinations going.
“It’s good to have those guys back but our mantra has also been that it doesn’t matter, there was always going to be seventeen guys to attack the game. We want guys who have been in that position before and adding two guys is vital.”
Roosters Members and supporters may have noticed a halves shake-up in the final month of the regular season which has seen mercurial halfback Sam Walker playing off the bench, with Lachlan Lam starting in the no.7 jersey alongside Drew Hutchison.
Robinson said that the move was about finding a balance for the trio, with each able to fill in a role for the side and expressing their own style of play to benefit the side.
“After last week’s game, I’ve made a choice around having Drew, Lachie and Sam play and play their roles," Robinson explained.
It’s time to nail what you want to nail in these finals series, and this is what you play for. You try and get the best out of yourself every week and that’s how we roll.Trent Robinson On the finals
“They’ve played different roles over the last six weeks and that will continue. They all have really strong attributes that I like but the collective part of playing three of them in two positions is key to the way we want to play.
“It’s a mix of a couple of things. Sammy’s played a lot of games there starting and I felt like Lachie was coming off the bench to play no.9 for us and doing a really good job. I really like the physicality of Lachie when he plays, I like the way he goes about the game.
“He’s an intelligent guy, he’s been around footy his whole life and he’s no different to Sam and Drew. We gave him confidence there to put him in that role whilst knowing we were going to develop Sam.
“In the moment, right now, I feel like that’s the way to go with Drew, Lachie and Sam to play their role and nail their role. It’s the best way for us to play. I feel like the shared responsibility is really key, whilst trying to develop them into game-changers.
“That’s been the focus. It’ll be no different this week.”
Now heading his eighth finals campaign at the Club, Robinson now welcomed the sudden death run that his side will face, and expressed his excitement as the Tricolours head into the post-season.
“The regular season, I love how long it is,” he said.
“It takes a lot of time and a lot of work and it’s exciting. You’re playing with all the tools that you’ve got to get into the right position – but this is money time.
“It’s time to nail what you want to nail in these finals series, and this is what you play for. You try and get the best out of yourself every week and that’s how we roll.
“You want the risk and the reward of finals.”
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