2010 in review - Sydney Roosters (6th and Grand Finalists)

From the outhouse to the penthouse, 2010 was the story of the Roosters climb from wooden spooners to runners up.

It all began with the signing of Brian Smith, the rebuilder and master tactitian who saw an opportunity at the Roosters that most couldn't. With the signings of troubled playmaker Todd Carney, forwards Jason Ryles, Jared Warea Hargreaves as well as a number of junior signings the Roosters had the potential to be anything.

They demonstrated this potential in the opening rounds when they accounted for favourites South Sydney and West Tigers with style. The side just played with such balance and the decision to move Todd Carney to fullback gave the Roosters that X-Factor they had been missing for at least a decade. Jubiliation soon turned to misery when the Roosters were annihilated in Round 3 against Canterbury-Bankstown to the tune of 60-14.

The game proved that while the Roosters had the potential to be fantastic, that there was a learning process to get the experiment exactly right.
The Roosters would continue this string of results until their clash against Melbourne in Melbourne. With most of the Storms stars on Origin duty the Roosters were able to capitilise and did so with style, 38-6 in a night that featured young guns Kane Linnett, Mose Masoe, Joseph Leilua as well as the return of Todd Carney to five eigth.

This sparked the Roosters season who went onto win the next five games from six matches including some brilliant victories over the Broncos, Bulldogs and the Eels before their run ended in a classic encounter against St. George Illawarra at the SCG. The game looked to of taken the sting out of the Roosters for a time who dropped their next two games before recovering nicely with wins over Manly and North Queensland granting them sixth place in time for the finals.

In what is regarded as one of the best finals matches of all time the Roosters fought their way back against the Tigers to take a famous golden point extra time victory through an intercept try to giant centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall. The Roosters then made short work of Penrith and the Gold Coast booking their place in the 2010 grand final against Minor Premiers St. George Illawarra.

In a controversial game that included a number of controversial refereeing decisions the Roosters went down 32-8 after leading 8-6 at half time. The loss soured what was a fantastic season for the club and despite it fans remain hopeful that the loss will prove to be an invaluable launching pad to their 2011 campaign.

Just about the whole side but in particular Todd Carney, Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Frank-Paul Nuaausala were fantastic servants of the club and all three were rewarded with international positions at the end of the year.

Jake Friend also deserves a wrap, the Roosters struggled big time finding a hooker and went through about four players before recalling Friend from his sandwich making duties.

Stand Out Matches
If you were fortunate enough to tune into a Roosters game this season you were always in for a treat. In particular though their performances to stop Parramatta's famed "Hayne Plane", put an end to the Bulldogs' finals hopes, come back from the dead against the Broncos and push the Dragons to the very end at the SCG stand out.

Then again, you could just watch that final against the Tigers and you'll be bound to the edge of your seat.

And how! So many rookies to choose from: Kane Linnett, Mose Masoe, Martin Kennedy and Joseph Leilua were all stand outs and even some of their marquee players are relatively young. The future is very bright in Bondi.

Final Thoughts
In spite of the sour final forty minutes, 2010 was a triumph for the Roosters and with all the factors pointing to a successful 2011 Roosters fans have a right to crow about their chances.

2011 best lineup
1. Anthony Minichiello 2. Sam Perrett 3. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 4. Kane Linnett 5. Justin Carney 6. Todd Carney 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Jason Ryles 9. Jake Friend 10. Frank-Paul Nuuausala 11. Mitchell Aubusson 12. Nate Myles 13. Braith Anasta
Interchange: 14. Anthony Watts 15. Mose Masoe 16. Martin Kennedy 17. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves

2010 vital stats
Finished: 6th and Grand Final runners up
Played: 24 matches (2 byes)
Won: 14 matches
Lost: 10 matches
Points for: 559 points
Points against: 510 points
Points differential: +49
Top pointscorer: Todd Carney (five-eighth) 255 points
Top tryscorer: Shaun Kenny-Dowall (centre) 21 tries

Club player of the year
Mitchell Pearce (halfback)

Dally M NRL Player of the Year
Todd Carney (five-eighth)