Where was the passion, desire and belief?

Gazbo Roar Guru

By Gazbo, Gazbo is a Roar Guru


111 Have your say

    As a long-time proud and passionate Sydney Roosters supporter it pained me to see them put up such a listless and uninspiring performance against the North Queensland Cowboys.

    The Roosters had so much to play for, with a spot in the NRL grand final on the line.

    The lack of intensity and costly errors at crucial stages would seem to suggest that the attitude of a lot of the players wasn’t what it should have been and that they weren’t ‘up’ for the match.

    The Roosters were the favourites and deservedly so with the home ground advantage, a week off which should have worked in their favour, and a psychological boost after beating the Cowboys 22-16 only seven weeks ago in Round 20.

    That being said, the inability of the Roosters players to concentrate for the full 80 minutes has been a worrying trend that has developed and been evident for a while now. It was all too clear to see again in their loss to the Cowboys.

    Make no mistake about it the Cowboys deserved their Victory and full credit to them for another inspired, passionate and outstanding performance. They wanted it more and outplayed and out-enthused the Roosters in so many facets of the game.

    For Jared Waerea Hargreaves to also come out in the press during the week challenging Jason Taumalolo and then not delivering on his big talk showed a real lack of respect for Taumalolo, but also for the Cowboys team, you could have read into it a hint of cockiness and arrogance.

    In future, JWH maybe you should spend more time concentrating on your own backyard rather than talking yourself up and firing up the opposition, talk is cheap if you don’t deliver on it.

    Sure, some fans will be quick to point out that making the preliminary final was a great effort and that fans shouldn’t criticise their team when they lose, but let’s not sugarcoat the result.

    The Cowboys were without Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott yet they dominated the Roosters for large portions of the match.

    By My reckoning the Cowboys players have desire, belief and spirit in bucket loads, it’s a pity that some of the Roosters players don’t also have some of those attributes – or if they do they didn’t play like they did against the Cowboys.

    It can only be hoped that Trent Robinson and the Roosters players do some serious soul searching in the off season and come back bigger and better next year, because they definitely didn’t do themselves justice against the Cowboys.

    If you could choose from any and every NRL player in the competition, who would you pick in your rugby league dream team? Let us know with our team picker right here, and be sure to share it with all your league-loving mates.

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (111)

    • September 25th 2017 @ 4:25am
      Craig said | September 25th 2017 @ 4:25am | ! Report

      I absolutely hate the roosters, but this article could’ve been written about any team in the competition this year, bar the storm and now, bar the cowboys. At least the cowboys had injury problems all year and whilst they weren’t perfect every week and only scraped into the 8, you couldn’t question their effort week to week.

      Every other team has rarely put in an 80 min performance and rarely strung together 2 decent performances in a row.

      Overall, I think it was a fairly ordinary season.

      • Roar Guru

        September 25th 2017 @ 10:54am
        BigJ said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:54am | ! Report

        I would have to disagree with that, I think that season has been great, not blockbuster but still great. The grand final will be one fo the best build up this century!!!!!!!!!!

        • September 26th 2017 @ 8:27am
          Samuel Nobbs said | September 26th 2017 @ 8:27am | ! Report

          Its been a weak season.

    • September 25th 2017 @ 5:24am
      David said | September 25th 2017 @ 5:24am | ! Report

      The story also rings true for NSW in the SoO, the Super Rugby Aust franchises and the Wallabies, let alone what Craig stated. Are the Australian professional players paid too much, and have become too far toved from the passion of their respective fan bases. I just feel let down so often by seemingly half hearted performances.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 11:31am
        Marto said | September 25th 2017 @ 11:31am | ! Report

        I think you should add cricket to that list. But we can’t sheet all the blame home to players in a world where obscene amounts are paid to some boxers, footballers etc. And there is the oft-quoted maxim of “only a small window to earn the bucks”. Making the window is the modern day achievement and keeping it open for as long as possible is the driver. Doing just enough is enough.

    • September 25th 2017 @ 6:00am
      boonie said | September 25th 2017 @ 6:00am | ! Report

      For me the Roosters never looked likely to defeat the Cowboys. As I said on Friday, their level of intensity wouldn’t have dented a pillow. Their attitude was incredibly poor. Napa and JWH were MIA and the laziness of Napa when Martin scored was the only thing you can remember about his game. Pearce is not a big game player. How many times did Coote catch his kicks on the full? All the hype about Mitchell and he had a shocker, which comes down to his lack of big game experience. Like the Eels maybe the Roosters over achieved this year?

      • September 25th 2017 @ 6:07am
        Craig said | September 25th 2017 @ 6:07am | ! Report

        Lack of big game experience for Mitchell? He’s played more origin games in the NSW #7 than Andrew johns and has played numerous finals series. He’s just not good enough. He’s got more experience than 95% of the nrl.

        • September 25th 2017 @ 6:58am
          boonie said | September 25th 2017 @ 6:58am | ! Report

          Sorry for the mix up Craig, I was referring to Latrel Mitchell

      • September 25th 2017 @ 6:53am
        Peter Phelps said | September 25th 2017 @ 6:53am | ! Report

        I think that they genuinely thought that it was in the bag. That they had won it before they even stepped on the field and lets face it, the media and most of us mug punters thought the same.

        I think the sharks and eels thought the same and I think the Storm were guilty of the same thing against the Eels. On paper, this finals series was so one sided that the results were a foregone conclusion until the unthinkable happened.

        I don’t think that the Bellamy will let the storm think that way this week.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 7:40am
        Raugeee said | September 25th 2017 @ 7:40am | ! Report

        Yes – I think the victory against the Broncos is shown in its true light following the thrashing Storm handed out to them.

        • September 25th 2017 @ 8:35am
          Peter Phelps said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:35am | ! Report

          I think that score line flattered the Storm but what was impressive in that score was that they held the Broncos to zero. The Storm defence was tested on numerous occasions particularly in the first half so to come away with a nil score against a top 4 team…..

          The Cowboys have done a brilliant job at flying under the radar and then producing a brilliant performance that gets them home but there has been 3 hard games away from home there. Bellamy won’t let his troops think they have won it before they step onto the field so the radar has gone. The Storm will also have the rub on the injuries front and I think they will be working on those error this week..

          The Cowboys will be riding high on adrenaline and we will see that in the GF. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get the first score but if the storm go in at half time in front, I can see them winning the second half at a trot.

          Either way, it should be a cracking GF

    • September 25th 2017 @ 6:38am
      Greg Ambrose said | September 25th 2017 @ 6:38am | ! Report

      It looked to me that the Cows are coached to not enter into any niggle or nonsense and it works so well because it sort of embarrasses the other team. Poor old Latrell Mitchell was trying to bung it on a bit but his rival just ignored him.

      I was thinking about Mitchell Pierce the other day and I’m of the belief that in any other era he would be just regarded as a good club footballer and not burdened by rep duties.

      He’s got heaps of great attributes except the ones that define the top halves.

      Tedesco is such a big buy for the club.

      Plenty of teams have been flat this year at various times and it looks like a build up of pressure has taken its toll. Even the Storm have looked pretty average at times in the last fortnight. Anyone who has played sport would know how pressure can rob you of energy and it can appear like you don’t care so much but it is the opposite. Latrell Mitchell was a good example in this game.

      I’m hoping the burden of expectation brings the Storm back to the field on Sunday but I’m not counting on it.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 7:41am
        mushi said | September 25th 2017 @ 7:41am | ! Report

        But were the roosters flat (prior to the field goal)? Their line speed was good, they made their tackles, their metres per hit up were great. They just made errors. I was actually proud of how the guys kept trying after each error and didn’t drop their bundle (and lets be frank their were lots of opportunities to drop the bundle!)

        • September 25th 2017 @ 10:15am
          Griffo said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:15am | ! Report

          I was coming back to Townsville from Port Douglas and the ABC commentators were saying that it was such a high intensity opening 20 minutes

        • September 25th 2017 @ 10:29pm
          Greg Ambrose said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:29pm | ! Report

          Considering the importance of the game I reckon they were flat. Napa and Mitchell are two impact players who had no impact. I read in one of the papers that Jake Friend ran for zero metres.

          Melbourne have also been flat at times I reckon and the Cows have just been grinding out the 80 minutes with the odd flash of brilliance. The Broncos and the Cows went at each others throats last year and the intensity in that game hasn’t been matched this year.

          I can’t recall one huge hit from the Roosters pack. I was expecting them to win and have too much energy for the Cows . A big chance for a title missed I reckon.

          • September 28th 2017 @ 8:07am
            Mushi said | September 28th 2017 @ 8:07am | ! Report

            Made 94 more tackle and yet barely missed one. Ran for more than the opposition per hit up.

            If that is flat then gee if they were on they’d beat teams by 200

      • September 25th 2017 @ 7:43am
        Raugeee said | September 25th 2017 @ 7:43am | ! Report

        I reckon Cowboys have picked up some Storm, professionalism through the QLD SOO connections.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 9:50am
        terrence said | September 25th 2017 @ 9:50am | ! Report

        Greg, you bring up some interesting points.

        I agree most teams have flat at stages during the year, and the Cowboys have been pretty lucky to play in the semis and they have played two teams in the past two weeks who pretty much saved their worst till last. Good luck to them, you can only play what’s in front of you and take your opportunities, the Cowboy’s did that!

        You are right with the niggle, certain teams (primarily the Sharks) were more keen to continue and try to win the niggle than the game at some stages of the season. I can’t believe a few coaches did crack down on their teams. The teams in the grand final don’t seem to worry about the niggle, kind of says something doesn’t it.

    • September 25th 2017 @ 7:33am
      mushi said | September 25th 2017 @ 7:33am | ! Report

      As a fellow roosters fan I say – I disagree completely.

      To use your own parlance let’s not sugar coat this, the analysis is as errant as the distance on a Latrell Mitchell kick off.

      You’re contending that a team which lets in 8 points in the first half on something like 30% possession, and not touching the ball for one 7 minute stretch, hasn’t put in.

      Poor execution, sure, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

      To only concede 8 points in that first half was testament to a team actually pitching in and repelling an attack led by two of the form attacking weapons in the comp.

      The difference in possession was one part superb control from the cowboys and one part the errors from the Roosters. The roosters had better metres per run and missed fewer tackles despite having to make 30% more tackles than the Cowboys so it is slanderous of the author to call the team’s effort and passion out.

      NQ were the far better team on the night by far and yet because of the guys continuing to dig in with line speed in defence with good line speed, and doing the hard work in attack, somehow we got ahead on the scoreboard.

      The roosters have a lot of rocks and diamonds players, Mitchell being a shining example, but that isn’t a result of waxing and waning effort it’s because of risky decision making. The same decision making that we rode to the home field advantage int eh first place with lots of close calls.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 8:11am
        Zedman said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:11am | ! Report

        Agree mushi, sometimes the harder you try the worse things get, they didn’t lose through lack of effort.

      • Roar Guru

        September 25th 2017 @ 10:18am
        Michael Keeffe said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:18am | ! Report

        I hate the Roosters but I do think they tried hard on the night. In reality they were lucky to every get to the lead and particularly in the first half they were courageous in defense. The Cowboys were clearly the better side and against a team that didn’t try as much as the Roosters they would have flogged them.

        Having said that the Roosters were particularly bad with the ball in attack, made lots of errors and had a very poor kicking game.

        • September 28th 2017 @ 8:30pm
          Maxim said | September 28th 2017 @ 8:30pm | ! Report

          Hi Michael! I’m a fan of Rooster, but I agree with you 100%. They did not have a glint in their eyes and a desire to tear the opponent to shreds in order to come to victory, as happened in 2013.
          P.S. Roosters are steeper than all, Michael.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 10:39am
        HarryT said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:39am | ! Report

        Qld, Storm and the Cowboys all endeavor to eliminate mistakes in important matches. Finish your set and defend hard.

        This tactic guarantees you half of possession and when the Roosters made their mistakes they put themselves under pressure and gave the Cowboys momentum.

        Roosters were 2nd last in 2016, so it is a good year overall.

        • September 26th 2017 @ 6:21am
          mushi said | September 26th 2017 @ 6:21am | ! Report

          Yep but then there’s got to have been at least a half century of articles about how you can’t out Melbourne the Storm. If the roosters tried to play that grind style of game they may not even make the finals.

          That’s what irritates me with experts like Pryde saying they didn’t “play” 80 minutes a single time this year.

          It’s actually because they stuck with the same plan for 80 minutes that it produced bad patches. They played higher risk in attack forcing balls closer to the line and selecting some rocks and diamonds guys and living with the consequences. Playing that strategy is going to produce extended poor periods, but given their roster and the pervading structure of the league it gave the team the best shot to outperform.

          In an ideal world you could have a team that could oscillate between the two but I’ll back the formation of a global borderless utopia before you get a squad of 17 NRL players so tactically and technically adept that they can just switch between diametrically opposed game plans mid match.

          • September 26th 2017 @ 1:54pm
            HarryT said | September 26th 2017 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

            Yeah. Melbourne have 12 robots and 5 players with flair.

            Refs don’t want to blow too many penalties for SOO and finals, so the difficulty playing Qld, Storm and Cowboys is getting any turnovers. Playing attacking football against their strong defense leads to errors that give them even more grinding possession and that tends to mess with opponents heads, which leads to more errors. Look at the Broncos last week.

            Both teams will be playing from the same hymn book in the GF, so it will be interesting to see who does it better.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 4:04pm
        Larry1950 said | September 25th 2017 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

        I have to disagree, I thought the roosters were lucky to get that close in the first half. I reckon the Cowboys bombed at least 2 chances to score tries when they opted for no risk plays & that flattered the roosters. Like a few other respondents, I reckon the roosters just expected the Cowboys to tire after their hard road to the game & Pearce had no plan b in the kit. Keary seemed flat & they lacked punch in the front row, those 2 back row monsters should have been on the field together for a lot longer.
        Similarly, the Broncos defended ok but were bereft of ideas in attack, taking one out forward charges ad nauseum, to the storm’s joy. Besides the lack of decent sized forwards, next year’s Broncos need a creative half at almost any cost. Ash Taylor would be welcomed back with open arms but he’d need a few big boppers to lead the way. Felt for Milford who has played under duress since the shoulder injury, but his defence has always been a weakness, like a lot of smaller backs.

        • September 26th 2017 @ 6:12am
          mushi said | September 26th 2017 @ 6:12am | ! Report

          Oh well your entirely to your opinion, but I likewise have to disagree with your disagreement and provide counter points to each element of your rationale.

          “lucky to get that close in the first half” the try was certainly lucky, but retaining line speed whilst not having possession isn’t luck, it’s effort.

          “Cowboys bombed at least 2 chances to score tries when they opted for no risk plays & that flattered the roosters.” But that was the cowboys plan, we can’t go great control of the match from Morgan and then say but they should have thrown caution to the wind here, here and there and they’d blow them away. You’re assuming that they would execute to the same perfect degree if they took more risk which is just a failure of logic. Conversely if they’d not just applied the screws they may have made errors and let the roosters off the hook.

          “I reckon the roosters just expected the Cowboys to tire after their hard road to the game” – this seems odd but let’s entertain for a second that a team that has hardly been blowing away good teams this year (the roosters) would think hey let’s go the rope a dope strategy in semi-final against a team with a 200 metre a game monster that still had a week off.

          You may not have any respect for Robinson as a coach but surely even the worst tactical mind in the history of rugby league wouldn’t pick that team, and play that style if the game plan was simply designing to wear the opposition down (because you do that by retaining the ball in attack not by having to push up tackle after tackle in defence). I am just stunned that people can see a team make 13 errors and go, oh they were just waiting for the opposition to tire? Huh?

          “Pearce had no plan b in the kit” – plan A worked when they executed, they made metres quite easily, a new plan with the same level of execution wasn’t going to help unless it somehow involved teleporting the cowboys to another city, even then I’m not sure we would have held onto the ball. If Pearce has a plan that can magically erase a close to 100 tackle possession deficit then he would be the greatest rugby league player of all time.

          “Keary seemed flat” – Agree as in he was flat to the line in attack. So when they actually got the ball he had a try and line break right? Sure that’s what you mean because that’s hardly bad involvement for a journeyman half on a team 94 tackles in the red.

          “they lacked punch in the front row”- assume you mean the middle (and I assume by “back rowers” you mean bench middle forwards as the old 1980s “back row” played all 80 minutes on each side) in which case how much do you freaking need? They averaged more metres per run from their middle forwards than the cowboys despite Taumalolo going for 12.2 a run and the roosters middle making 50% more tackles each.

          What they needed was better execution (and to not pick Tupou…)

    • September 25th 2017 @ 7:41am
      RandyM said | September 25th 2017 @ 7:41am | ! Report

      Wonder if Gould will admit this year was a soft comp?

      Lets see…

      Team coming 8th makes grand final
      Team missing its hooker and carrying a broken fullback makes prelim final (Brisbane)
      Team that came second only finished with +72 for and against, that’s over 200 points less than the Storm who finished on +297.

      Yep, Apart from the Storm the rest of the competition has been soft.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 7:43am
        mushi said | September 25th 2017 @ 7:43am | ! Report

        I wouldn’t say soft as the stats you’re using imply that the only variability is at the top end.

        I’d agree there is only one elite team this year but the “not very good” teams seemed better than in previous years.

      • Roar Guru

        September 25th 2017 @ 10:25am
        Michael Keeffe said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:25am | ! Report

        I just think it was one of those years. The Roosters probably wouldn’t have made the top 4 in other years but finished second due to a number of factors. The Cowboys and Broncos both had key members of their spine’s out for extended periods / the season this year. Thurston, Coote, Granville, Boyd, Milford, Hunt, McCullough all spent extended time on the sidelines. The Sharks had a premiership hangover and didn’t play to their potential. The Eels are on the rise but not quite there yet and the Panthers and Raiders didn’t get anywhere near their pre-season hype. Just one of those seasons where a combination of factors resulted in the Storm being far and away the best side all year.

        • September 26th 2017 @ 10:03am
          Albo said | September 26th 2017 @ 10:03am | ! Report

          I just think that the salary cap is doing its intended job of trying to keep the teams competitive with each other at least in terms of opportunity to put together a roster of players of somewhat equal ability. Apart from the Storm which has been able to retain a high quality and consistent high performing roster for years based on their big 3 foundation, the rest of the teams were all pretty even throughout the year. Any team was capable of beating any other team ( apart from Storm) on the day. If ever a team was to make the Grand Final from 8th place , it was this season. As we saw the 4th placed Eels belted by last placed Knights just a fortnight out from the finals, and then back up and put 50 on 3rd placed Brisbane ? There was very little between most of the teams and it is no surprise for me to see the Cowboys win through to the grand final as they have forged together a month of tough teamwork and solid game plan under the on field management provided by Michael Morgan and off field work of coach Green. I still can’t see the Cowboys getting over the Storm to complete the fairy tale, as the Storm have the class advantage and the game managers to convert that superiority on most days.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 11:36am
        Fix the scrums said | September 25th 2017 @ 11:36am | ! Report

        This is an uninspiring grand final as well. Apart from North Queenslanders and a small band of Storm supporters, I can’t see too many excited about the GF.
        It will be interesting if the fickle Sydneysiders start taking an interest. The NRL is desperate for a big event after a so so season. Although some of the finals games were good, that didn’t translate to more bums on seats and big ratings.