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11 hours ago
Sydney Roosters stand out lock Luke Ricketson has a chilling message for Penrith ahead of Sunday night's National Rugby League grand final at Telstra Stadium.
"We're better than last year," Ricketson said.Roosters coach Ricky Stuart has been loathe to compare his 2003 team to the 2002 premiers, saying he had a vastly different playing roster this year.
But Ricketson, who gained his first Test jumper this season after an outstanding State of Origin series for NSW, had no qualms making comparisons.
"I think you'd have to say across the board everybody's improved," he said.
"I'd have to say the likes of Craig Wing and Anthony Minichiello have improved, probably the likes of myself have improved, Mick Crocker's improved.
"Just across the board we've all got better as a player, so I'd have to say we're better than last year."
Ricketson, 30, said the Roosters' team of 2003 carried more skill, desire and professionalism.
"I think last year we sort of got there without realising the momentum we had," he said.
"I think we fell into a grand final just in belief.
"This year we've got there on a bit of talent and hunger.
"We've had a lot of knockers throughout the season as well - and continually you're still going to get them - but a lot of that drives us and we tend to thrive on that sort of thing."
The Roosters will head into the premiership decider as raging favourites to defend their title. Ricketson said he had great deal of respect for Penrith, but he was feeling cautiously optimistic of going back-to-back after enjoying another thorough preparation under Stuart.
"I think we've really handled the last couple of months of footy professionally," he said.
"We didn't enter into the debate about Canterbury last week. There was a lot said about that and I really think we really just did it well on the footy field.
"We're just hungry and we go out there and play well."
The Roosters had a 90-minute field session today before heading into camp ahead of Thursdays traditional grand final breakfast.