FIRE DOUSED | After returning to finals action in 2015, the St George-Illawarra Dragons struggled un...
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Sydney Rooster head coach Trent Robinson has admitted he is feeling a lot more positive about his side’s hopes this season after seeing his team claim an emphatic 34-14 Anzac Day victory against St George Illawarra. Following an early-season run of three straight defeats, the comprehensive win at the Allianz Stadium saw the Roosters pick up their second consecutive victory to keep the team in the upper reaches of the NRL ladder with their fourth win of the season.
While the defending champions may not be playing the sort of rugby that saw them romp to last season’s NRL title, Robinson was rightly encouraged to have seen his side control their Anzac Day clash against St George. Leading 18-8 at half-time, the Roosters finished up the deserved winners after late tries from Boyd Cordner and Shaun Kenny-Dowell saw the home side run out 34-14 victors.
Robinson admitted the performance had been the Roosters best this season, pouring praise on the team for how they had bounced back from a mixed start to the new NRL campaign and have put themselves in the mind of bet365 fans.
“That was our best this year. (It was) a combination of the last few weeks of the footy we were playing and the footy we were trying to play. We didn't hit the ground running (this season) but we are building.”
“Four from eight is probably not ideal, we are probably one win away from where we would have like to be. But I'm of proud of the reaction of the last few weeks to those three losses,” said the Roosters coach.
The victory may have come at a cost for Sydney, however, with Michael Jennings and James Maloney both forced from the field late in the second half with injuries that could now keep the pair out of action for lengthy spells. While Jennings appeared to have picked up an ankle problem, the bigger issue for the Roosters could be the shoulder injury picked up by Maloney.
The former Warriors star had failed to really find his feet this season following his sensational form last year, but Maloney looked back to his best against the Dragons, playing a huge role in the hosts dominating the scoreboard throughout the 80 minutes at a packed Allianz Stadium.
The half-back kicked five goals and setting up two of his side’s six tries before being forced from the field with ten minutes left on the clock after being tackled by Jack Stockwell following a 40-20 kick. While the club will wait to see the results of further scans on the injury, the Roosters could be without the playmaker for as long as two months with his shoulder injury.
The tri-colours will now be without Maloney and Jennings for a tough clash against an in-form West Tigers at the beginning of May, but Roosters will be hoping to build on their back-to-back victories and start putting their stamp on this Telstra Premiership season. While the loss of Maloney and Jennings is a blow to the team, the Roosters will need to prove they have the players in the squad capable of stepping up.