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

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)
Roar Rookie
21st December, 2017
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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.

Tedesco-Origin

(AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

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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.

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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.