There are eight rounds remaining in the shortened 2020 NRL season and the race for finals places will continue in earnest this weekend.
They came into the tournament without three of the starting four of their spine, but the Roosters proved that you don’t need the best to take out the Auckland Nines.
As a staunch Rabbitohs supporter I brushed off the Roosters squad. No Mitch Pearce, no Luke Keary, no Jake Friend. They were going to do squat all, or so I thought.
The North Queensland Cowboys brought their big guns and couldn’t even get to the final. Ditto the Broncos, who probably should have defeated the champions in the quarter finals without a Jordan Kahu brain snap.
But credit has to go to the Eastern Suburbs club for fielding players that suited the format.
The likes of Connor Watson (who I have big wraps on) and fan favourite Latrell Mitchell absolutely cut the competition to ribbons.
Mobile forwards such as captain Mitchell Aubusson, Aiden Guerra and Paul Carter got the team around the park with ease, and the addition of youngsters like Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck and Paul Momirovski gave them a little bit of flair that piled on the points.
It’s a lesson that all NRL coaches should look to for next year’s competition, particularly those teams who have been favourites but fallen by the wayside in recent years.
I’m looking at you, New Zealand Warriors.
Congratulations to the Roosters and all those involved on the day. While Auckland Nines success runs a long second to an NRL premiership, some of the more successful Nines clubs have gone on to do well in the NRL in recent years.
The Cowboys and Broncos played in the 2014 final, along with the 2015 NRL grand final, while 2015 final showcased the 2014 and 2016 NRL premiers – the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks respectively.
2016 champs Parramatta had their title stripped due to the salary cap scandal.
Who knows what this success will do for the Roosters?
Now, let’s move onto the real competition.