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Sydney Roosters 2021 Season Preview

TK's take on the Sydney Roosters:

STRENGTH Roster - Full of elite players across the park. Any team with the likes of Tedesco, Keary, Manu, Waerea-Hargreaves, Chrichton and Cordner are always in the mix to win competitions.

Coaching staff - Head coach Trent Robinson and his assistant Craig Fitzgibbon are the best coaching duo in the competition. Not only have they set the standards of the club but the welfare of the players always comes first.

Return of Radley and Verrills - The injury of these two really dented the Roosters 2020 campaign. Radley's influence prior to his injury was significantly underrated. His ability to act as a link for his halves and pop short balls for his middles, his absence changed the way the Roosters attack even with Issac Liu and Angus Crichton doing a creditable job in his absence. Verrills absence also was underrated. A star of the 2019 grand final his presence would have given the ability for the Roosters to rest Captain Jake Friend more during the season. Hooker is now a highly competitive space with Freddy Lussick also in the mix. Depending on the availability of Boyd Cordner during the 2021 season, we may see Friend playing more games during the season but with more game time rotated to Verrills.

WEAKNESSES Boyd Cordner's concussions - A serious concern given how Cordner was ruled out of the Origin series and after the series of concussion he suffered during the season. If any team is well placed to handle the situation it's the Roosters so given how they have handled past concussion issues it wouldn't surprise to see Cordner miss a large chunk or potentially the entire season.

Mitchell Aubusson - The best club man in modern day NRL history, Aubusson put his team before his personal ambitions. The teams will miss his versatility, he can nearly play every position on the field. While Aubu doesn't have the flashy highlights of Teddy or Manu, his ability to make big tackles and take important hit ups will be a significant missing part of the Roosters team moving forward.

Halfback - Many think coach Robinson was harsh in dumping young Kyle Flanagan after his first season in first grade and trying to fill the shoes of Cooper Cronk. It does show the standards expected for the young players, so no one has a safe role in the team. Now the two in line to replace Flano are Lachlan Lam and gun rookie Sam Walker. Lam performed well in limited time in the top grade and also offers a left foot kick which would add elements to the Roosters game. Walker comes with huge pedigree with his father former Broncos star Ben Walker while his uncles are Chris and Shane Walker. He comes with huge wraps but at 18 years old his frame still looks mighty thin so he might not yet be ready for the physical side of NRL footy. He's another player that was hurt by no NSW Cup footy in 2020 so there will be significant concerns over his physical readiness.

Full time goal kicker - With Flanagan leaving who steps up to be kicker, Taukeiaho can kick but his not an 80 minute player.

OPPORTUNITIES Halfback - As above a huge opportunity for either Lam or Walker to become Keary's halves partner. For those playing NRL fantasy, both will be great buys at cheap price points.

Backrow - The potential absence of Cordner, leaves Sitili Tupounina the opportunity to cement his starting role. The team has plenty of young guns pushing Tupounina with Nat Butcher, Fletcher Baker and Egan Butcher also pressing for minutes.

VERDICT - Top 4 and premiership contender. At full strength they will push for their third premiership in four years. They're no longer the hunted team and can be a hunter once again. The team is still the only team since the start of the NRL to go back to back premierships and the team is well coached and have a great balance across the park.

Where do you see the Roosters finishing in 2021?


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