Sydney Roosters fullback James Tedesco and halfback Lachlan Lam are both eager to showcase their spine combinations this Friday night as they head to Mackay to take on the Sea Eagles in the second week of the finals.
Following the thrilling 25-24 victory against the Gold Coast Titans in week one, the pair - while both happy with the result - believe there are plenty of lessons to be taken from the match, particularly when it came to discipline with the ball in hand.
Lam also shared the experience of playing finals football his first appearance, while Tedesco called for a rise in 'semi-final standards' from his side.
“We want to take our lessons from last week,” Lam stated.
“There’s a bit to build on there but we’re happy to get through that and we’re looking to build on this weekend.
“It was different. It was cool to play in front of a packed crowd again, it’s been a while since it’s been full. I’ve been a part of this team for a while, and I’ve got to see these games from the sidelines and it was definitely part of my goal to check that off the list this year.
Finals Week 2 Media - James Tedesco
“We definitely weren’t surprised, and finals week one is always tough. It was tightly contested but we’re happy to go on with it.
“We just want to get a game plan going first and then I can look into what I want to do and how I want to play this week.
“It was a lot closer than we thought it would be,” Tedesco admitted.
“We just made it hard for ourselves, I think. There were a lot of errors and execution let us down a bit, there were some soft tries. We gave up 24 points which is not a semi-final standard.
“Looking back on it we always felt confident and in control, and that last minute and thirty seconds I thought we were gone but there were some try-saving efforts to keep us in the hunt which is what semi-finals footy is about.
“A win is a win and you’ve got to take them any way they come.”
As two members of the side's 'spine' - which has seen numerous iterations throughout the season - Lam and Tedesco both cited the gelling combinations in recent times, which has seen the pair joined by Drew Hutchison at five-eighth and Sam Verrills at hooker, while teenager Sam Walker has provided a bench impact role - evidenced by his field goal in the dying stages of last week's match.
For Lam, building combinations couldn't be easier for the quartet, who enjoy a healthy relationship as mates off the field, while Captain Tedesco was quick to agree while also citing the influence of former captains Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend in his developing leadership role with his younger teammates.
“I think I’ve just learned from those guys over the years; being captained by Friendy and Boydo over the years, sometimes I think about how those guys would react in certain situations and what a great job they did. So I certainly take a lot of lessons from those guys who were all massive leaders at this Club.James Tedesco On his newfound leadership
“It’s quite easy to connect there, we’re all good mates off the field,” Lam insisted.
“Me and Drewy have played together for a long time, me and Sammy have played u20’s together, and me and Ted are good mates so it’s pretty seamless there.
“I’m a little bit bias with Teddy – I reckon he’s one of the best players in the game. I feel like the more time he has the hands on the ball the better it is for the team.
“He hasn’t changed too much from last year to this year, he’s just a footy player and he’s on everything. As a growing footballer and wanting to build on the game, it’s really good to see him doing that every week and learning lessons from him.
“We’ve got a good connection.”
“Me and Rads have a really good combo and I like working with Sammy Verrills,” Tedesco added.
Finals Week 2 Media - Lachlan Lam
“We get along really well and I’m trying to pass on as much leadership and experience as I can onto them. I want them to dominate their role as well and take control of the team.
“We didn’t have either of those guys last year so to have them around the spine and ruck are important for me to have that connection. We’re just trying to continue to work on those combinations.
“Boydo is up here with us as well and whenever we talk, whether it’s around training or we’re having a feed or playing golf he’s really insightful and I always try and listen to him whenever he has any advice.
“I think I’ve just learned from those guys over the years; being captained by Friendy and Boydo over the years, sometimes I think about how those guys would react in certain situations and what a great job they did. So I certainly take a lot of lessons from those guys who were all massive leaders at this Club.
“I’ve taken a lot of learnings from these guys and tried to add my personality to it but I’m trying to lead by example and a lot of the guys have responded well.
“These guys are just as important to create space for me and for themselves. We’re still working on it every week to build and make those connections better.
“They’re the spine and I want them to take control, to play their best footy and back themselves."
The second week of the finals will see the Tricolours take on fierce rivals Manly Warringah up at BB Print Stadium in Mackay, for the first finals meeting between the sides since the 2013 Grand Final, and the second this season after the emphatic 46-4 win in Round 1.
Both Lam and Tedesco say they are under no illusions after the big scoreline in the opening match of the year, especially with both sides undergoing a number of changes in their line up since.
I’ve been a part of this team for a while, and I’ve got to see these games from the sidelines and it was definitely part of my goal to check that off the list this year.Lachlan Lam On his first finals appearance
“For us, we can’t be making as many errors as we did on the weekend,” said Tedesco.
“We’ve just had a few days of recovery and we’re training this arvo to get ready for the weekend. We’ve had a few good trips to Mackay, we’re looking forward to it and we haven’t faced Manly for the whole year since Round 1.
“It’ll be a different team to when we faced them and our team will be different as well so we’ve got to take our lessons from the weekend.
“We got the win but there’s plenty of improvement in us and we’ll be ready to go Friday night.”
“There’s a lot that’s happened since then,” Lam said.
“It was a pretty big crowd, we had a good win and we’ll be looking to put in a good performance to get that result again.
“We’ve had a look on last week and we’re excited to build on that and really showcase our Roosters style of footy. We didn’t really get to do that last week and I think we’re all really excited to put that on in the weekend.”
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