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Plucky Roosters Aim Up in Leichhardt Trial

A young Sydney Roosters outfit has completed a strong hit-out in their first trial match of 2022 at Leichhardt Oval against the Canberra Raiders. 

Roosters Head Coach Trent Robinson took the opportunity to field plenty of representatives from the Club's Pathways System against a much more experienced Raiders outfit, of which a majority had NRL experience. 

Led by captain Lachlan Lam, top 30 members of the NRL squad including Adam Keighran, Kevin Naiqama, Drew Hutchison, Tuku Hau Tapuha, Ben Marschke, Daniel Suluka-Fifita and Naufahu Whyte all had strong first outings, while youngsters Jordan Swann, Tom Carr, Sandon Smith, Ronald Volkman and Terrell May were standouts. 

The Red, White and Blue began proceedings in breezy conditions, displaying plenty of conviction in defence; with the likes of Ben Thomas, Naufahu Whyte and Tuku Hau Tapuha instilling physicality in the opening stages.

However, early ill-discipline handed their opponents the first chance to strike, and a ricocheting grubber kick saw Raiders fullback Xavier Savage cross for the first try of the match after two minutes. 

A string of penalties in the ruck again handed Canberra further territory - putting Easts under pressure on their own line - and the Raiders capitalised as Adrian Trevilyan dived over from dummy-half.

Needing to gain the ascendency, the Roosters continued to challenge their more battle-hardened opponents with powerful running and committed defence from the young brigade - which would prove to be fruitful in the shadows of the first quarter.

Whyte Breaks Through

Following a comedy of errors from both sides on halfway - with the cobwebs of pre-season being blown out - a barnstorming run from Naufahu Whyte saw the hulking second rower dive over next to the posts to put the Tricolours on the board.

With Adam Keighran's conversion, the gap closed to 6-12 at the end of the first quarter. 

The beginning of the second quarter mirrored the first, with the Raiders taking advantage to score from of a handling error - despite a dubious final pass to try scorer Brad Schneider.

A swirling kick-off from the boot of Tom Carr proved to be too difficult for Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, but yet another chance close to the line went begging for the plucky Roosters - and the Raiders quickly responded with a try to Corey Harawira-Naera. 

The Bondi Wall held firm following an aerial assault from the boot - but it was another case of missed opportunities following a powerful charge from Carr, which saw young centre Jordan Swann held up over the line. 

Despite some near-misses, Easts grew with confidence and displayed plenty of enterprise in the dying stages of the second quarter - with the scores remaining at 6-24 after the first stanza. 

With the second half came a change in weather as the steamy conditions of the afternoon were replaced with an overcast cover under the setting sun. 

Hau Tapuha, Thomas and May were quick to get to work, laying foundations through the middle of the field, however, Canberra would be first to score in the second stanza.

Volkman With a Booming 40/20

Forcing an error via a strong hit from Swann, the Red, White and Blue continued to ask questions of the defence on the line, however, the bounce of the ball continued to cruel the side. 

Displaying plenty of enthusiasm both with and without the ball, the youngsters continued to add enterprise to the match - much to the delight of the crowd - and while the Raiders made inroads through the middle of the field, the committed Bondi Wall defence was on show with a number of desperate try-saving efforts. 

Soon enough a booming 40/20 kick from halfback Ronald Volkman saw the Roosters in a position to score as the three-quarter break rang in - beginning with the ball 10 metres out to start the final period.

Roberts Shows Composure with Put Down

While points eluded the side on that occasion, Volkman continued to impress, picking up a loose ball to streak away and provide the side's next try on a platter for Eli Roberts with a well-weighted grubber kick. 

The young halfback had his hands in another momentous play soon after, putting up a towering spiral bomb to give the Tricolours a scrum feed ten metres out, and the Roosters went back-to-back as Siua Wong crashed over - with the scoreline now reading 18-28 with ten minutes remaining. 

With time winding down, errors and ill-discipline crept into both camps as fatigue set in, and while Canberra crossed again through Jarrod Croker, the Sydney Roosters' first trial of 2022 showed plenty of promise from the members of the Club's Pathways System. 

Siua Wong Crashes Over


Sydney Roosters 18 (Naufahu Whyte, Eli Roberts, Siua Wong tries; Adam Keighran, Ronald Volkman 2 goals) def by Canberra Raiders 32 (Xavier Savage, Adrian Trevilyan, Brad Schneider, Corey Harawira-Naera, Peter Hola, Jarrod Croker tries; Jarrod Croker 4 goals)

The Roosters will take on the Wests Tigers in their second trial match next Friday, February 25 at Central Coast Stadium at 8:00pm.

Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.