Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
8 mins ago
I decided to lay off the Sydney Roosters earlier in the year as some of my content could have been regarded as Rooster-bashing, and I guess that was fair enough.
Now however, the time has come to look at where things have gone wrong for the once-powerful Roosters. And to also point the finger at those who should be held responsible for their slide ever since the retirement of Brad Fittler in 2004.
Ricky Stuart would have to be one of the most over-rated coaches of all-time. He coached sides to grand finals in his first three seasons. He has coached a premiership, that being in 2002 but admittedly the Roosters had the best legal playing list that year. In subsequent years, 2003 and 2004, the Roosters were expected to win premierships in both of those seasons with the playing talent they had.
Let?s not beat around the bush here, Brad Fittler made Ricky Stuart look like a great coach in those three seasons. Similarly the way Andrew Johns makes Michael Hagan look like a decent coach, but that?s another story for another day.
I find it quite embarrassing that Ricky Stuart is the current national coach. Craig Bellamy, Steve Folkes, Graham Murray, Tim Sheens, and John Lang would all be ahead of Stuart in my pecking order for the position.
Stuart has players on his list which have excelled at other clubs. Those include Ashley Harrison, Braith Anasta, and Joel Monaghan. Strangely, each of these players hasn?t enjoyed any sort of form at the Roosters. Harrison and Anasta both played State of Origin last season, and Anasta was named Dally M five-eighth of the Year in 2005. He did play Origin this season also, but his selection wasn?t warranted with the form he was showing and we all know that it came back to bite the NSW selectors in Game two.
Missing the 2005 finals series was fair enough. The Roosters finished 9th but they could be excused for that sort of showing the season after Brad Fittler retired. The Roosters weren?t the only ones to underachieve last season and it was fair enough for the Roosters? management not to take the poor season with any credence.
Now however, after buying some high profile stars in the off-season, the Roosters sit second last on the ladder, only superior to the lowly South Sydney Rabbitohs. Whose fault is it? The players are proven performers and the side is a rabble. There?s only one direction at which to point the finger.
Following the Roosters? 42-10 defeat to the Canberra Raiders, he completely lost the plot with statements made at an after-match press conference. ?We had some passengers out there today and we?ve been carrying passengers all year,? he said. Despite the fact that these players are proven performers with other clubs, Stuart refuses to take any blame for the side?s failures and according to these statements, is of the belief that by some unfortunate coincidence, his stars have all had form slumps in the same season.
Brad Fittler steered the Roosters to three successive grand finals, Stuart merely oversaw proceedings. Once Fittler retired, it was over to Stuart to assume control of the Roosters, and ever since, the Roosters have only won more games than their inner-city neighbours.
If Nick Politis is looking for the solution to the Roosters? woes it?s simple: the fish rots at the head, and Stuart must get the punt.