The Sydney Roosters reigned supreme in 2018, capturing the NRL Premiership for the second time in five years.
2018 Club Record
Competition Points: 34 (1st)
2018 Player Achievements
Jack Gibson Medallist for Player of the Year: James Tedesco
Most Tries: Blake Ferguson (18)
Most Points: Latrell Mitchell (248)
Pre-season expectations were set very high for the Roosters in 2018. The two major signings of Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco were expected to deliver nothing less than a premiership. Success wasn’t instantaneous and the star duo took a while to gel with the rest of the team.
Early season jitters seemed to get to them. Four out of their eight losses were in the first eight rounds. A 30-6 loss to a Warriors side without Shaun Johnson in round four was the lowest point of their season.
Once all their combinations started to fire, there was no stopping the Roosters. From round 12 to 22 they won nine from 10 and finished as minor premiers.
In the finals they accounted for Cronulla and Souths fairly comfortably, setting up a showdown with Cronk’s former team Melbourne in the grand final.
As has become a part of rugby league legend, Cooper Cronk ended up playing the grand final with a broken scapula. Going into battle with just 16 men and one on-field coach didn’t deter the Roosters.
They completely dominated the Storm. Their forwards ran right over Melbourne while their outside backs left the Storm tackling air.
They won 21-6 with Luke Keary putting on the performance of his life to win the Clive Churchill Medal. Victor Radley declared his plans for celebration were “Beers, Beers and more Beers”.
The Roosters couldn’t be more pleased with how their season turned out.
NothingButLeague Player of the Season
Joseph Manu. His transformation from an average outside back to a gun centre in 2018 was one of the key factors in the Roosters becoming a premiership-winning team.
In 2017 he was dropped from the final series for poor defence but in the off-season he completely overhauled his defensive game. With Manu and Ferguson locking up the right edge, the Roosters became the best defensive team in the comp. In attack he managed a handy eight tries for the season, along with plenty of assists for his wing partner.
The likes of Tedesco, Cronk and Mitchell took most of the spotlight throughout the year but it was the massive improvements Manu made that demonstrated the Roosters were going to go all the way in 2018.
2019 GAINS AND LOSSES
Angus Crichton (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos), Brett Morris (Canterbury Bulldogs)
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