Round 4 kicked off last night with the Sydney Roosters overcoming traditional rivals South Sydney Ra...
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There really isn't too much to say about the Sydney Roosters' 2009 campaign that hasn't been repeated over the past few months. Little care on the field, little care off the field - safe to say, it was the worst time to be a supporter of the foundation club. The entry into the 2010 season has proved interest. There are many who believe nothing will change, and there are many that believe everything will change. God knows which sort of Sydney Roosters side will turn up to play the 2010 season.
The new coach, veteran Brian Smith, has brought in new codes of conduct to the players. Already the club has cut troublemakers Willie Mason and Jake Friend, with everybody else on high alert. Everyone is on high alert, no matter how high the profile of the player is.
So, how does the side line-up? The backline will consist of the unpredictable Todd Carney, the old warhorse Anthony Minichiello (who will be moving to the wing, hoping for an injury-free season), international Sam Perrett, the improving Shaun Kenny-Dowall, the speedster Phil Graham and a host of young guns. It will look to be the Roosters best backline in years.
The halves will once again feature Braith Anasta and Mitchell Pearce. Pearce particularly has improved during the off-season, while Anasta has been hampered with the injury he suffered last year. Backing up for them is exciting young Cook Islander Daniel Fepuleai and the improving Ben Jones.
The forward pack still has those big names, despite the player movements that went against the club. Leading the side forward will be the returning Jason Ryles, Origin rep Nate Myles, former centre Mitch Aubusson, young gun Tom Symonds and the powerhouse duo of Lopini Paea and Frank-Paul Nuuausala.
Well, where does the side finish? It'll be anybody's guess. It looks like 2010 could be a rebuilding year for the Roosters, hopefully the side will give fans something major to cheer about throughout the season, as they sure didn't have it last year.
Signings Gains: Todd Carney (Atherton), Jason Ryles (Catalans, ESL), Daniel Conn (Titans), Daniel Fepuleai (Dragons), Phil Graham (Raiders), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sea Eagles), Brad Takairangi (Rabbitohs), Aiden Guerra (Storm) Losses: Craig Fitzgibbon, Mark O'Meley, Jordan Tansey (Hull FC, ESL), Iosia Soliola (St Helens, ESL), Shane Shackleton (Eels), Rohan Ahern (Broncos), Riley Brown (Titans), Setaimata Sa (Catalans, ESL), Stanley Waqa (Storm)
Predicted Round 1 Line-Up 1. Todd Carney 2. Anthony Minichiello 3. Phil Graham 4. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 5. Sam Perrett 6. Braith Anasta (c) 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Jason Ryles 9. James Aubusson 10. Frank-Paul Nuuausala 11. Mitchell Aubusson 12. Tom Symonds 13. Nate Myles Interchange: 14. Aiden Guerra 15. Lopini Paea 16. Daniel Conn 17. Ben Jones
Player To Watch: Todd Carney Of course it's going to be Carney. The new signing was a massive gamble for Brian Smith to take, and recently his trial form has shown that this gamble could very well be a massive bonus for the club.
Rookie To Watch: Ryan Williamson We've been saying this for years, haven't we? Williamson will hopefully finally get his chance this year, after injuries and off-season battles have hindered him for the last two years.
Current Injuries Sam Perrett and Braith Anasta are 50-50 for round one, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is expected back in the third round and young guns Matt Hands and Anthony Cherrington are sadly out for the season.
2010 Season Schedule R1 v Rabbitohs (A) R2 v Tigers (H) R3 v Bulldogs (A) R4 v Broncos (H) R5 v Panthers (A) R6 v Raiders (H) R7 v Dragons (A, SFS) R8 v Tigers (A, C'town) R9 v Cowboys (H) R10 v Knights (H, Gosford) R11 Bye R12 v Titans (A) R13 v Sharks (H) R14 v Storm (A) R15 Bye R16 v Warriors (H, Christchurch) R17 v Raiders (A) R18 v Rabbitohs (H) R19 v Bulldogs (H) R20 v Broncos (A) R21 v Eels (A) R22 v Dragons (H, SCG) R23 v Sharks (A) R24 v Titans (H) R25 v Sea Eagles (H) R26 v Cowboys (A)