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NRL Season Preview and Review

2017 NRL SEASON REVIEW | Sydney Roosters

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Record: 17 wins, 7 losses
Ladder Position: 2nd (Eliminated in the preliminary final)
Player of the year: Boyd Cordner (Jack Gibson Medallist)
Mitchell Pearce (Members player of the year)

Season Summary 

Despite finishing 2nd on the ladder, the Roosters 2017 season was plagued by inconsistency. They never truly hit a great patch of form. They never lost more than two games in a row but they never went on a hot streak either. In fact just about the most notable part of their season was the regular occasions they made their fans nervous wrecks as they won 12 games by 6 points or less, a reversal of their fortunes last year.

Having finished 15th last year, the only way was up for the Chooks and they started their season in fine fashion as they won the Auckland 9’s trophy. It was a sign of good things to come and their new recruits all proved to be great purchases but they never truly looked like threatening as premiership contenders.

As has been a popular consensus amongst expert commentators, the Roosters were brilliant in patches and they were also terrible in patches, sometimes switching back and forth in the span of one match.

Being consistently inconsistent, it seemed like only a matter of time before the Roosters hit their straps and put in a full 80 minute performance to put the competition on notice. It just never eventuated though and they fell to the North Queensland Cowboys in the preliminary final as has been the story for the last few years.

Talking Points 

Keary buy of the year contender

After a less than amicable departure from Souths, Luke Keary made sure he showed up his old club and gave a thumbs down right back to Mr Gladiator.

He didn’t take long to make himself a prominent feature of the Roosters attack in 2017. He scored a double in his club debut against the Titans and his combination with Pearce developed incredibly quickly. The two looked like they had been playing together for years as they linked up and passed to one another on backline shifts.

He led the league in line break assists and in the early parts of the season he surged ahead in the Dally M counts as he kept on racking up the 3 point tallies. As the Roosters dipped in form throughout the year, Keary wasn’t able to be as influential as he was at the start of the season as he fell 2 points short of the Dally M 5/8 of the year.

3 prelim final losses in 4 years

The Roosters aren’t even the bridesmaid, they haven’t even been able to get to the wedding venue in the first place. 2014, 2015 and 2017 have seen the Roosters progress to the preliminary final only to crash out in disappointing fashion.

It’s a strike rate that could actually put potential pressure on Robinson’s job. It seems absurd that a coach with a 62.4% win rate in his 5 year tenure at the club would ever be in danger of losing his job but in this day and age nobody seems to be satisfied unless you’re constantly delivering.

Making three preliminary finals in four years is what some clubs would kill to have but to the people in charge, they may be thinking why hasn’t it been three grand finals in four years and one or two more premierships?

Backline crisis in latter half of season

Adding to the incredulousness of their 2nd placed finish, the Roosters somehow managed to get away with fielding one of the most disjointed backlines in the whole competition towards the end of the season.

After sacking Shaun Kenny-Dowall and changing their minds on demoting Mitchell to reserve grade it looked like the Roosters backline was set. However after a few poor defensive games from Joey Manu he was dropped and Aubusson replaced him in the centres. Once Daniel Tupou went down with a groin injury in Round 22, it was down to the new Mr Fix It Ryan Matterson to fill a place in the centres.

Somehow against all the odds it actually coincided with one of their better runs of form during the season. They narrowly lost 13-16 to the Storm and won 3 straight to finish the regular season including a win against their bogey team Cronulla.

They won in spite of their ridiculous backline set-up though not because of it. Aubusson regularly sent passes sailing into touch past Ferguson while Matterson was severely out of his depth having to play wing in attack.

With respect to the talents of Aubusson and Matterson who are both great back-rowers with a lot of utility value, the Roosters were never going to win a competition with a centre line-up like that. At that late stage in the season they might have been weary to test out any youngsters but they can’t ever let it get that bad again.

Tedesco a monumental signing

Yet another disappointing season for the Roosters may be quickly forgotten by them as they look towards an exciting future after they secured the services of James Tedesco for the 2018 season and beyond.

It was a massive coup for the Roosters to nab Teddy. As a club that can sometimes seemingly possess limitless pockets, it drew the ire of many a rugby league fan that he would turn to the Roosters. However as it stands, Tedesco is the only signing they’ve made for the 2018 season while they’ve offloaded a number of players to accommodate him.

Regardless the Roosters will be delighted with what the future holds for them. Tedesco is currently one of the best fullbacks in the game and some would even go as far to say he’s the best. With most of his injury problems seemingly behind him as well a long and prosperous rep career, the Roosters have secured the services of a fantastic player who is only going to get better.

2018 gains and losses
Gains:
 James Tedesco (Wests Tigers, 2021)
Losses: Paul Carter (released), Kane Evans (Parramatta Eels),Aidan Guerra (Newcastle Knights), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Newcastle Knights), Liam Knight (Canberra Raiders), Connor Watson (Newcastle Knights)

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