Here’s how the Roosters’ aggressive recruitment drive can backfire

Charles Brandling Roar Rookie

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    Latrell Mitchell of the Roosters celebrates with his team mates after scoring a try during the NRL Qualifying Final match between the Sydney Roosters and the Brisbane Broncos at Allianz Stadium on September 8, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

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    A complete professional in all aspects of the game, Cooper Cronk has done it all.

    A two-time Dally M medalist, Golden Boot Award winner and a two-time premiership winner, all with the Melbourne Storm.

    James Tedesco, a NSW fullback who boasts speed of a Fijian winger and an ability to bust tackles like to a fit Greg Inglis. Quite impressive acquisitions in a single off-season right?

    Throw in the 21-year-old Angus Crichton, who has been lured to Bondi on big money for 2019 with the great expectation of being a future representative back-rower.

    Roosters fan have every right to look at these signings, along with a second place finish in 2017, and think they should put their mortgage on a premiership in 2018. However, to really understand whether Uncle Nick’s impatience for a premiership will pay off, one must delve into the recent Roosters history and possible ramifications of such an aggressive recruitment drive.

    Firstly, let’s look at the 2016 season in which the Roosters finished in an underwhelming 15th. Roger-Tuivasa-Sheck broke the hearts of Roosters fans and departed for the Warriors after the 2015 season, while Roosters recruitment management raised eyebrows by moving on noted goal-kicker James Maloney for the up-and-coming Jackson Hastings.

    The decision to not re-sign Maloney on an upgraded contract is the biggest mistake Roosters recruitment have made in many years. The Roosters went on the lose eight games by four points or less in the 2016 season, somewhat due to a lack of a class goal kicker.

    Fast forward to the 2017 season and new Roosters recruit, Michael Gordon kicked the Roosters to 12 tight wins by six points or less. Now the Tedesco addition at fullback for 2018 is without doubt a positive for Trent Robinson’s side, and all seemed smooth when Gordon re-signed for another year seemingly happy to play a role on the wing.


    (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

    However, along come the Titans with an offer for Gordon to play fullback, and what do the Roosters do? They release him without hesitation. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Kicking duties will now have to be taken up by Siua Taukeiaho, and when he goes off for his rest, Latrell Mitchell will have to step up.

    Neither of these men are necessarily poor goal-kickers, but when a tight game with the Storm or Cowboys arises, it is imperative that the scoreboard in going up in sixes rather than fours.

    On another note, Roosters ten-year veteran and local junior, Mitchell Pearce has moved to Newcastle after the controversial signing of Cooper Cronk.

    Cronk is no doubt a better player than Pearce but this isn’t the only factor to consider whether the coup will be a success. Pearce formed some very close friendships in his time at the Roosters with none more so than Boyd Cordner.

    Mitchell Pearce Sydney Rooster NRL Rugby League Finals 2017

    (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

    Subsequently, Cordner expressed excitement to play with Cronk in his robotic like interviews to the press, however it is a possibility that beneath the surface there is turmoil. Pearce was a good friend and long-term teammate.

    Not only is this a personal loss for the current captain but it also places doubt over the loyalty at the club and whether his own position is safe. Compound this thought with Cordner’s consistent niggling injuries and the signing of a future representative back-rower for 2019 and Boyd is not feeling so optimistic.

    There is no doubt in my mind the Roosters would love to re-sign Cordner as he is on of the best forwards in the game, however after all that has transpired maybe he is not too fond with Roosters management. If your captain is not feeling 100 per cent committed then what will the attitude of will his troops be like. Only time will tell.

    There is no knowing whether this magnificent team on paper will deliver the premiership Nick Politis so desperately wants. However, a great team on paper never guarantees anything, just ask Warriors fans.

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    The Crowd Says (4)

    • December 22nd 2017 @ 9:55am
      Rabbit said | December 22nd 2017 @ 9:55am | ! Report

      Tedesco can kick goals and was very good in lower grades maybe he will step up

    • Roar Guru

      December 22nd 2017 @ 10:49am
      Nat said | December 22nd 2017 @ 10:49am | ! Report

      I think all players should be ‘on notice’ to save complacency. Boyd is professional enough to know that sport is a business and I would hope playing with Cooper over the WC has softened any animosity there may have been. At the very least appreciate Cronk’s professionalism.

    • December 22nd 2017 @ 11:45am
      paul said | December 22nd 2017 @ 11:45am | ! Report

      It doesn’t matter what team you’re talking about, the stars have to align perfectly for a side to win a premiership. In Easts case. Apart from the reasons you have given;

      . they don’t appear to have a lot of dept in their squad so injuries to any key player could have a significant influence.

      . There’s an assumption Cronk will bring his style of play wich has been so successful from the Storm & Qld to Easts and that Easts will adapt to it. The first few rounds will tell if that’s the case, given Cronk no longer has Smith and Slater and has a much less regimented structure than he’s used to.

      . the rest of the side will gel as a unit and age won’t be a factor. Guys like JWH aren’t getting any younger and they were noticeably slower in 2017 than in previous years, which means less go forward.

      . they don’t have a late season fade. I and many others wondered how they managed to get to 2nd, but their finals campaign was less than stellar and I don’t see this necessarily changing in 2018.

      . will they be able to cope with the pressure and expectations that will be placed on them? I’m not sure the team as a whole has the strength of character to manage the tough times, which will happen if they either start the season poorly, or lose a few games in a row.

      They should make the 8 but they have to gel as a unit an get past at least a couple of other sides in the Cowboys and the Storm, before they could be considered contenders rather than pretenders.

    • February 9th 2018 @ 10:36pm
      Joe said | February 9th 2018 @ 10:36pm | ! Report

      Without a specialist goal kicker we are up the creek because it was goals which got us to 2nd last year. Far worse teams who have good goal kickers will find it easier to beat us as we give away heaps of penalties but have no kicker to take advantage of penalties coming our way.

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