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Sydney Roosters - 2013 Preview
Quality players all round the park, this is a year of excitement for the Roosters. If their trial form is anything to go on, they are playing on pure excitement. So far it has brought out some wonderful football from them. If they remain consistant, they could be building something.
Sides playing on pure excitement have always had an indifferent record against professional outfits, such as the Dragons of a few years back, and of course, the Storm. These are the games that will tell how the Roosters will fare at the business end of the season.
As we've seen before, this is a completely new side. New attackers, new defenders, a new coach. We've seen the Roosters revolutionise themselves before, making the 2010 Grand Final. Some of the players they've picked up have had 2012's they'd rather forget. Attitude has always been a problem at the Roosters, even when they're succeeding. It will take more than one good season to completely change the culture of the club. This side most certainly has the ability to bring back the old Roosters mantra of success, but they need to start right here and now.
The side will already be missing regulars Tautau Moga and Jack Bosden for the first half of the new season, but the depth should hold up.
Player To Watch
For the side that has a superstar line-up, picking one player to watch is most certainly a difficult task. But let us not get ahead of ourselves in any way. Not only will every Roosters fan be watching, not only will every Rugby League fan be watching, but a wide audience never seen before will be tuned into their televisions to witness the return of one of the most controversial modern day players, Sonny-Bill Williams.
His professionalism has impressed his team-mates as far, but his injury worries will always be in the back of the mind. Not match-fit, you never know what will come out of him. Some are expecting him to jump right back in and replicate the form that made him the most dangerous player in the game half a decade ago, some are expecting him to just be another myth. Whether he does the good, the bad (or even the ugly...), every single player will be shadowed compared to the man that is Sonny-Bill Williams.
Rookie To Watch
Even when things were down in 2012, the Roosters fans knew they had so much to look forward to. With the success of the Reserve Grade and Under-20s sides, many names were touted as possible First Graders in 2013. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was the first player who put his hand up to secure a permanent spot in the side. Appearing on the wing in six matches, he has been known to many as the successor to the fullback spot that has been safely owned by Anthony Minichiello for the best part of the century. This year he will step up (and around) even further.
Gains: Sonny-Bill Williams (Panasonic Wild Knights RU), Michael Jennings (Penrith Panthers), James Maloney (New Zealand Warriors), Michael Oldfield (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles), Sam Moa (Hull F.C.), Luke O'Donnell (Huddersfield Giants)
Losses: Braith Anasta (Wests Tigers), Joseph Leilua (Newcastle Knights), Justin Carney (Castleford Tigers), Mose Masoe (Penrith Panthers), Peni Tagive (Retirement), Curtis Rona (North Queensland Cowboys), Brad Takairangi (Gold Coast Titans), Anthony Cherrington (Penrith Panthers)
1. Anthony Minichiello (c) 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Michael Jennings 4. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 5. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 6. James Maloney 7. Mitchell Pearce (vc) 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (vc) 9. Jake Friend (vc) 10. Sam Moa 11. Sonny-Bill Williams 12. Boyd Cordner (vc) 13. Frank-Paul Nuuausala
Interchange: 14. Nafe Seluini 15. Luke O'Donnell 16. Aidan Guerra 17. Martin Kennedy