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Here's to You, Mr Robinson: 300 Games in Red, White and Blue

Success and the Sydney Roosters have gone hand-in-hand since the Club’s establishment in 1908 - and Trent Robinson has helped propel the Tricolours to another echelon of standards.

Plenty associate Robinson as the Tricolours’ head honcho since 2013, but few know that his connection with the Club extends much longer than just the past decade. 

Despite being born and raised in Sydney’s southwest, Robinson has been a Rooster through and through, starting with his playing days in the Club's pathways in the Jersey Flegg and President's Cup as an up and coming front rower. 

Going on to play first-grade at the Wests Tigers and Parramatta, Robinson’s coaching call came soon after with a venture to Europe at just 27 years of age. 

In his first role at Toulouse Olympique in 2005, his side became the first French team to reach the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup under his guidance - an early sign of his ability to introduce a winning culture. 

Robinson Pays Tribute to Cordner

With his former mentor Brian Smith arriving at the Roosters in 2010, Robinson swiftly joined him, following three years at Newcastle as his assistant. 

He ingrained steel to the side’s defensive structures as they charged to their first Grand Final since 2004 off the back of a wooden spoon season, in one of the great reversals in the code’s history.

The seeds of success were planted, before departing to his first top-grade head coaching role with Catalans in the English Super League, making two consecutive preliminary finals from a 14th place finish prior. 

An opportunity to then take the reins from his former mentor in Bondi arose ahead of the 2013 season, and his return to the Roosters coincided with another momentous reversal of fortunes. 

Welcome home, Mr Robinson.

In my view, Trent is the game’s best thinker. He is a man of high integrity with a genuine love for his players, the history of our Club and the area we represent.

Nick Politis AM Sydney Roosters Chairman

Success was imminent under his watchful eye, instilling the dance of defence and building the Bondi Wall – which saw the Roosters keep a record six teams scoreless throughout the season. 

Instilling a belief in his new-look squad - as well as the hard-working foundations and ethos which have since distinguished the Roosters from the rest of the competition - success was imminent.

In his first twelve months, Robinson took the Roosters to a Minor Premiership and the Club's emphatic 13th Premiership, claiming the Dally M Coach of the Year and the Rugby League International Football Coach of the Year - a testament to his impact in such a short period of time.

Back To Back: Robinson and Cooper Cronk share a moment following the 2019 Grand Final victory.
Back To Back: Robinson and Cooper Cronk share a moment following the 2019 Grand Final victory.

A new era had truly dawned in Bondi.

More silverware came in the form of a World Club Challenge and two more Minor Premierships in 2014 and 2015 – a showing of the side’s rise as a powerhouse of the competition under his guidance.

An anomaly in 2016 occurred, with injuries and departures ravaging the side, but the man in charge ensured that the best would come from his host of rookies, who would go on to play a vital role in future successes.

A return to the top in 2017 ended with a heartbreaking loss in the preliminary final, and reinvention at the Roosters was needed. No problem. 

Post Match with Trent and Jake

Season 2018 saw many parallels with his first year at the helm; a host of new key arrivals were brought in, including Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco. 

Again, the Roosters were crowned with the Minor Premiership after another dazzling season, before claiming the ultimate prize in one of the most storied Grand Final weeks as Cronk battled through a shoulder injury.

The 21-6 defeat of the Melbourne Storm speaks volumes of his side’s confidence, discipline and defensive commitment – but the following year would be the crowning jewel.

With next to no chance given to climb the cliff face and reach the summit once again, the longest-serving Roosters coach challenged his squad to become the first side to retain the trophy in over two and a half decades.  

The ensuing 2019 Grand Final victory proved to be one of the greatest achievements of any Club and coach in the 21st century.

This Club has been the biggest part of my working life; it is unequivocally my home.

Trent Robinson Sydney Roosters Head Coach

To put it into perspective, legendary Coach Jack Gibson was the last to bring back-to-back titles to Bondi before Robinson’s sides climbed Everest twice in succession.

No other current coach has been able to do so.

You have to trawl through the annals to find the last head coach at the Club to win more Premierships than Robinson – Arthur ‘Pony’ Halloway, who won titles in 1935, 1936, 1937 and 1945 as head coach. 

As of writing, Robinson is only one away from the legendary clubman.

In Round 18 of the 2022 season, Robinson will become the first person to coach 250th first-grade games in Club history, entrenched in the top 25 most-capped coaches since the code's beginnings and sitting on par with the renowned Roy Masters. 

Just two years later in Round 17, 2024, Robinson's longevity will see him become the first in the East to hold the clipboard 300 times for the Club, just eleven wins shy of 200, which could be achieved by season's end, should the stars align. 

As of writing, he holds an incredible slew of records, which very well could be bested in years to come;

  • 7 top four finishes in 11 seasons
  • 10 finals finishes in 11 seasons
  • 9 seasons with a winning percentage of 60% or more
  • 14 finals matches won
  • 3rd best winning percentage (63%) out of the top 20 most-capped coaches. 

But the current head coach is more than just a man with a clipboard and a commander on the training field – he is a figure that galvanizes the Club; whether it be his playing squad, the coaching and office staff, or even the board room.

For those who have heard Trent speak, you can sense that there is a deep-rooted will to instill a sense of pride in every single person who wears the Rooster on their chest.

Humble Beginnings: Trent Robinson (back row, fourth from left) in the Club's Jersey Flegg side in 1995. He would go on to make his NRL debut for the Wests Tigers, before heading to the Parramatta Eels under the tutelage of Brian Smith, the coach he would eventually succeed in 2013.
Humble Beginnings: Trent Robinson (back row, fourth from left) in the Club's Jersey Flegg side in 1995. He would go on to make his NRL debut for the Wests Tigers, before heading to the Parramatta Eels under the tutelage of Brian Smith, the coach he would eventually succeed in 2013.

He ensures every person buys into the Roosters' way and is on a first-name basis with all players and staff – which are just some of the pillars that create a successful culture.

Few know the true lengths he goes to in order for the Roosters to succeed each and every season in order to benefit not only the football Club, but the Roosters community.

And now after extending his contract for five more seasons, there is more belief than ever that the Premiership will return sooner rather than later. 

So next time you think of Trent Robinson, don’t just look back on what he has helped the Club to achieve – look to what more can be achieved, because that's exactly what he would be doing. 

Name: Trent Robinson
Games Coached: 299
Wins: 189
Losses: 110
Achievements: 3 Premierships (2013, 2018, 2019)
4 Minor Premierships (2013, 2014, 2015, 2018)
3 World Club Challenge Victories (2014, 2019, 2020)
1 Auckland Nines Trophy (2017)
Dally M Coach of the Year (2013)
Rugby League International Football Coach of the Year
First to coach Sydney Roosters in 300 first-grade games
First to coach Sydney Roosters in 250 first-grade games 
First to coach Sydney Roosters to 150 first-grade wins
First to coach back-to-back Premierships in NRL era
7 Top 4 Finishes
10 Finals Finishes
14/24 Finals Matches won 
9 Seasons with a 60%+ win rate 


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.