As the National Rugby League season draws closer, we look at how the Sydney Roosters will go in 2020.
The Roosters will be aiming to be the first side since Parramatta in the eighties to win three premierships in a row, but with the loss of some key personnel will they still be able to get it done in 2020?
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Kyle Flanagan (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks).
Cooper Cronk (retired), Latrell Mitchell (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Zane Tetevano (Penrith Panthers).
TOP 30 SQUAD: Mitchell Aubusson, Fletcher Baker, Egan Butcher, Nat Butcher, Lindsay Collins, Boyd Cordner, Angus Crichton, Poasa Faamausili, Kyle Flanagan, Jake Friend, Ryan Hall, Drew Hutchison, Matt Ikuvalu, Luke Keary, Asu Kepaoa, Lachlan Lam, Isaac Liu, Joey Manu, Brett Morris, Victor Radley, Billy Smith, Siosiua Taukeiaho, James Tedesco, Daniel Tupou, Sitili Tupouniua, Sam Verrills, Jared Waerea-Hargraves.
SPOTS AVAILABLE: Three.
Panthers (A), Sea Eagles (H), Rabbitohs (A), Titans (H), Sharks (A).
WHAT TO EXPECT
Rolling into the 2020 season on the back of a World Club Challenge win against St Helens, the reigning premiers will be confident of getting off to a good start. As long as they don’t suffer injuries – especially to their outside backs – they should be in the top four.
While it is hard to look past James Tedesco, the Roosters will also look to Luke Keary for most of the year. Keary has shown that he can lead the team when given the reigns; with Kyle Flanagan playing at number seven, there is no doubt that Keary will be the on-field general.
Against St Helens, Keary took charge and gave Flanagan the chance to ease into the game, as well as scoring a crucial try. If Keary can be injury-free for the majority of the season then the Roosters will have a good year.
The Roosters were relatively quiet in the off-season, with only Cronulla’s Kyle Flanagan signed on a two-year deal.
Flanagan was stuck behind Chad Townsend and Shaun Johnson at the Sharks, but he has the chance to cement a first grade spot at the Roosters and will be confident after his debut against St Helens, where he set up two tries for Joey Manu and impressed coach Trent Robinson for his willingness to go to the line and take a hit. Flanagan will have some competition from Lachlan Lam for the halfback spot this season, but he should be in the number seven jumper in round one.
With Latrell Mitchell gone, the fact that Flanagan is a goal kicker is another string in his bow, though he will most likely share it with Siosiua Taukeiaho.
The start of the draw favours the Bondi side, facing a mix bag of sorts. Normally they open the season against arch-rivals South Sydney, but they won’t meet until round three; instead they open their account against Penrith. There doesn’t seem to be much of a stretch of hard matches: they follow their Rabbitohs clash by hosting the Titans, and have the bye after playing the Raiders in Perth. The final three games are probably the hardest: against the Storm (in Melbourne), the Rabbitohs, and the Broncos (in Brisbane).
Top Tryscorer – James Tedesco.
Top Pointscorer – Kyle Flanagan.
Club Player of the Year – Luke Keary.
WHERE WILL THE SYDNEY ROOSTERS FINISH?
The Roosters should once again be contenders for the title this year; though they may find it hard to win the big one after losing of a couple of big names. While they will make the grand final, they won’t make it a premiership hat-trick.