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The Roosters looked under threat of making the finals in 2022 until a late season surge saw them finish sixth before eventually bowing out to arch-rivals South Sydney in week one of the finals. 

Their exit may be seen as a bit of a waste given the momentum they'd created towards the end of the year but it now sets the Tricolours up to make 2023 a season to remember. reflects on the 2022 season for the Sydney Roosters and how things are in place for the powerhouse club to push for a title next year.

Robbo's evolution

Trent Robinson remains one of the best masterminds in the game so behind the scenes while their 2022 campaign was unfolding the Roosters coach would've already been putting some things in place for 2023. 

Robinson is an adaptive coach who moves with the times and so too are his players. It's why his side are never down for too long. 

More pleasing for the three-time premiership winning coach is that the Tricolours showed signs of getting their defensive resolve back after it fell away during the COVID-affected season in Queensland in 2021.

There's enough star power in their attack to come through and match it with other teams in the competition but it will be their defence that makes or breaks their title chances in 2023.

Match Highlights: Roosters v Rabbitohs

Winning streak lessons

The Roosters' final two months of the season showed why they're still one of the most feared teams in the competition with wins against the Rabbitohs, Storm and Cowboys on their way to an eight-game winning streak.

What they can take out of that run is confidence, knowing when they get on a roll they're hard to handle for any other team. 

After losing a wealth of experience in the past 18 months due to retirements, that sort of momentum felt by the club's youngest players will benefit them all. 

For the experienced players who have tasted great success before, it will give them the belief that the squad can get back to its premiership days.

Keary and Walker find combo

Luke Keary and Sam Walker were doing their best to work each other out in the early rounds of the season but once Trent Robinson worked it out with the pair, the Roosters were the main beneficiaries. 

The Tricolours' eight-game winning streak coincided when Keary and Walker swapped sides with 38 try assists between the pair throughout the season.

It was a particularly strong season from Keary, who was coming off an ACL injury. While he took some time to get going, there's no doubting he's one of the best playmakers in the game.

With another pre-season under the belt for the pair you'd expect their combination to go from strength to strength in 2023. 

The hype is real

Two words, one player: Joseph Suaalii.

For anyone who had their doubts after an injury-affected run in 2021, Suaalii announced himself on the NRL stage in 2022. 

And while all the talk is whether he'll remain at the Tricolours long-term and take over from James Tedesco at fullback, let's just sit back and marvel at one of the game's next best superstars. 

Suaalii's age and inexperience was easily forgotten when he was outleaping several opponents to the line or putting on big hits like a middle forward. 

Robbo talks Suaalii

Manu magic

Speaking of Joseph's, the other one is pretty damn good too.

Joey Manu's season was his best yet and that's a scary proposition for the opposition despite him continue to apply himself predominantly in the centres. 

Roosters coach Trent Robinson explored more with Manu in 2022 and gave him enough freedom to elevate his game. Expect that to continue more in 2023 as the tactical side of the game continues to evolve. 

What happens in the long-term with Manu, Suaalii and James Tedesco will be intriguing to watch but for the time being we should all marvel at the trio being in the same backline. 

Brandon Smith's Preston Campbell Medal performance

The block of cheese

Is Brandon Smith ready for the Sydney's rugby league bubble, and are the Roosters ready for Brandon Smith?

The arrival of Smith at Bondi is set to take the Roosters' game to a whole new level. 

There are high hopes that Smith can elevate the Tricolours' attack through the middle, something they haven't quite nailed like other sides in recent seasons.

Retired veteran Jake Friend and Sam Verrills provided defensive resolve - something Smith is also renowned for - but the true value will come with his running game. 

Smith won't arrive to the Roosters until January after his return from the World Cup, which will leave both player and squad with limited time to combine. 

However, given his calibre, it shouldn't take long for the Kiwi international to find his feet... and voice.

Tupouniua's pain is Butcher's gain

The ACL injury to Sitili Tupouniua in July was a crushing blow for a back-rower, who was really starting to come into his own at the Roosters. 

Tupouniua will be eased back during the 2023 season but for the time-being it will be hard to keep Nat Butcher out of the starting side after his remarkable run of form to finish the season. 

Butcher's four tries against the Wests Tigers at the SCG was part of a record-breaking onslaught but true to his nature, the quiet achiever "wasn't fussed" with his efforts, despite his teammates stoked for the forward.

The Roosters have held Butcher in high regard since he made his NRL debut in 2016 with his efforts in 2022 perhaps a sign of things to come.

James Tedesco's first 100 tries in the NRL

Like a fine wine

James Tedesco's spectacular career is showing no signs of slowing down with the 29-year-old still at the top of his game and one of, if not, the best fullback in the world. 

There's plenty of candidates who get thrown into the fullback conversation but pound for bound, year on year, Tedesco has been the most consistent of them all.

Tedesco's game in 2022 became more effective despite 10 fewer try assists for the year, with the side's attack firing across both sides of the park. 

His 13 tries for the year was his best effort since 2019 while he topped the competition with a whopping 169 tackle busts for the season.

Tedesco's kick-return metres also got back to his career averages after slumping last season with his elevation to the Kangaroos captaincy to only take him to another level in 2023.

Why Lodge needs to stay

Matt Lodge benefitted from his move to the Roosters towards the end of the 2022 season and now appears set to be a vital key for the side by committing to the club. 

Lodge's game - by his own words - has been simplified under Trent Robinson with the former Warriors and Broncos prop left feeling more clearer around his role in the side. 

With the departure of Siosiua Taukeiaho to Super League next season, the Roosters are fairly light on with middle forwards with so Lodge, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Lindsay Collins will have to take more control.

Waerea-Hargreaves is entering perhaps his final season in the NRL in 2023 while Collins had a mixed season with multiple head knocks. The pair, however, have represented their countries at the World Cup and will return hungrier than ever.

Robinson: 'That's why we love the game'

'Home of the Roosters'

From the moment Allianz Stadium was open, the Roosters have made it clear the refurbished venue is their home turf. 

Their opening two games at the venue against arch-rivals South Sydney in September sets up their return to the Sydney Football Stadium with their finals exit at the venue one to provide plenty of added motivation.

In the two years prior to the reconstruction the Roosters won 28 of their 35 matches at the venue.

Their season at the venue will be disrupted due to the women's FIFA World Cup taking over but overall they'll be looking to ensure the place is a nightmare for opposing sides to travel to in 2023.

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.