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Strange’s Roosters Working for Each Other

Since falling to the Canberra Raiders in Round 2, the Sydney Roosters NRLW team have secured five consecutive wins, all by more than 20 points.

It was the wakeup call that Coach John Strange said the team needed, and it’s given them the hunger to step up in all areas as they fight to secure the Minor Premiership and a home Semi Final.

“It was actually really good for us that round two loss, as a team we will never slip into that sort of complacency,” Strange said.

“I feel like the Raiders played well and that’s not taking anything away from them, but we weren’t at our best.

“We’ve just really focused on us and these girls being the best that they can be as individuals and obviously as a collective, which I feel like has happened so yeah, it’s very pleasing.”

Round 7 Match Highlights: Roosters vs Eels

The Premiership-winning coach was happy with the Roosters 46-12 victory over the Eels in Round 7, but says the team still have areas to work on ahead of their encounter with Newcastle.

“[I’m] really really happy, obviously Parra came off a good win last week against the Cowboys so we knew they’d come here with some confidence looking to continue that,” he said.

“But it was more about us and all the little areas we’re trying to work on to make sure that no matter who we play, we can solve what people throw at us and put performances like that in.

“We were sort of scrappy with some penalties and sort of piggybacked them downfield, which put pressure on ourselves.

“We had a focus there on trying to build some pressure and not trying to score off every play, but just build pressure then we believed the points would come and that’s what they did.”

Strange & Kelly: Round 7 Press Conference

Captain Isabelle Kelly is looking forward to the final few rounds of the regular season and believes the team will continue to build on their resilience and attitude, especially when encountering a tough opponent.

“I think a lot of the girls drop their heads when we get scored on, but it’s just to remind them of what they’re capable of," she said. 

“I think just really instilling that kind of positive mindset within them and see what they do.

“They’re just such a great group of girls and you don’t have to ask for anything more than just their job.

“For me, I love leading them and I love being their Captain and they’ve made it super easy for me just to be the natural out there leading by my actions sort of captain, not having to do much else just because of who they all are.”

As Tarryn Aiken continues to assert her dominance as a leading five-eighth in the NRLW, Strange says he has loved seeing the 24-year-old develop her game as a Rooster this season.

“We’ve always known she’s a great footballer, [we’re] just allowing her within our system, attacking some movements and shapes,” he said.

“We want her to have a little bit of free rein on both sides. It’s great what she’s doing there on both sides of the ruck, she’s running when it’s on, she’s passing inside balls when there’s space in there and she’s hitting leads and sweeps.

“It’s all good for me to say as a Coach, this is how we want to play, but she’s the one out there pulling the trigger at the right time.”

Aiken Provides for Pasikala

Kelly believes Aiken provides just as much spark off the field, especially when it comes to boosting team morale.

“I think if you got to know Taz quite personally, you’d really get to love her as a person and for me that’s what I really love," she explained.

“Off the field, just getting to know Taz and who she is as a human.

“She’s brought such a great thing to our team, but to be honest she wouldn’t be able to do what she is doing for our team if it wasn’t for Joss [Jocelyn Kelleher] steering the park as well.

“Those two have linked up really well and I think that they’re going to be a pair that sticks together for a very long time.”

With a first-versus-second battle on the horizon, Strange knows his team are up for the challenge and says he’s looking forward to what will be a great day for women’s rugby league in Newcastle.

“It’s going to be exciting for both teams, obviously the Knights had to get past Raiders and we had to obviously play our game and focus on the Eels but now that that’s done, we’ll dissect our game and then look forward to the Knights,” Strange said.

“They’re a quality side, they’re reigning premiers, and we’re playing them up there, so hopefully we get a big crowd and a lot of people out there to support both sides.”

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.