2022 review: Sydney Roosters

COMP NRL
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Teething Pains and Agony for the Boys from Bondi

The 2022 season was one of high expectations for the boys in the red, white and blue. On the surface, it looks like they failed to meet expectations. But when you take a deeper dive, it's understandable to see why they fell short. Coming into the season, the core spine had yet to play a single game with each other, and as expected by realistic Roosters supporters it took time for everything to come together which saw them limp into the finals.

Sydney's 2022 season began with a typical round 1 loss, to an underwhelming Knights side before recovering to only lose one match before their ANZAC Day clash with the Dragons. From ANZAC Day to Round 16, the Roosters went on to only win just four matches. The most impressive of those was an Indigenous round victory at the hands of the Sharks, becoming the only side to defeat Cronulla on their home turf in the regular season.

There was one glaringly obvious problem with the Roosters attack during this period of instability post ANZAC Day. Luke Keary was very uncomfortable as the dominant half as opposed to the 5/8 role in which he won multiple premierships. It wasn't until his return from concussion that the Roosters were able to fire. After the Origin stars returned to club land, it appeared the Roosters woes disappeared with them, going to win out for the remainder of the regular season. This included a return home to Allianz Stadium, which the tri-colours were able to secure a victory over arch-rivals South Sydney. If circumstances were different in the semi-finals and James Tedesco wasn't illegally knocked out of the game, then it's pretty safe to say things would've been completely different.

Turning Point

A lot was made of the Roosters decision to sign Matt Lodge in July, a lot of it was critical based about his past and his perceived ‘walk-out' on the Warriors. But it's safe to say a lot of Roosters supporters (myself included) were eating crow. Lodge's impact in a Roosters pack that was desperate for another big body was immense and was able to contribute heavily into the Roosters run into the semi-finals. This signing along with the switch of Keary and Walker into their preferred positions contributed greatly to the Roosters revival in the second half of the season.

What went right

The switch of Luke Keary and Sam Walker to their more familiar positions. It's safe to say this decision from Trent Robinson is probably up there with playing Daniel Tupou on the bench in the 2017 prelim final as far as the moves that backfired in his face. That being said, when they shifted over to their more preferred sides of the football field. The Roosters attack seemed to have their mojo back, becoming one of the more exciting attacking teams to watch as they marched onto the semi-finals.

What didn't go right

The first half of the season was a total mess. There were times where you'd watch the Roosters attack the football and it would be like watching a game of two handed touch. It was side to side football, and no straight-forward direction. Their edge defence was also incredibly suspect at times in 2022. Paul Momirovski was brought to the club with a reputation as a ‘defensive specialist'. Roosters fans would be demanding their money back with poor reads in defence.

2022 results

RndDateDayOppositionVenueCrowdRank
1Mar 12thSat 3:00pmHNewcastleL6-20SCG14,71011th
2Mar 18thFri 8:00pmHManlyW26-12SCG11,8729th
3Mar 25thFri 8:00pmASouthsL16-28Accor18,24513th
4Apr 2ndSat 7:30pmANorth QldW28-4QLD C.B.17,9296th
5Apr 8thFri 8:00pmABrisbaneW24-20Suncorp23,5085th
6Apr 17thSun 2:00pmHWarriorsW22-14SCG11,2675th
7Apr 25thMon 4:00pmA NSt Geo IllaL12-14SCG35,2736th
8Apr 30thSat 5:30pmACanterburyL12-16Accor9,5447th
9May 7thSat 5:30pmH NGold CoastW44-16Mackay5,5276th
10May 15thSun 4:00pmH NParramattaW31-24Suncorp40,1354th
11May 21stSat 7:30pmHPenrithL12-32SCG14,4827th
12May 28thSat 7:30pmACronullaW36-16Pointsbet11,5006th
13Jun 5thSun 4:00pmACanberraL16-22GIO6,4927th
14Jun 11thSat 5:30pmHMelbourneL18-26SCG12,9258th
15Jun 18thSat 7:35pmAParramattaL16-26CommBank21,7579th
16Jul 1stFri 7:55pmAPenrithL18-26Bluebet16,72511th
18Jul 16thSat 3:00pmH NSt Geo IllaW54-26Gosford15,7219th
19Jul 22ndFri 7:55pmANewcastleW42-12McD. Jones13,7018th
20Jul 28th/td>AManlyW20-104 Pines12,1878th
21Aug 4th/td>HBrisbaneW34-16SCG10,4958th
22Aug 13thSat 3:00pmHNorth QldW32-18SCG15,2198th
23Aug 20thSat 7:35pmHWests TigersW72-6SCG14,9396th
24Aug 26thFri 7:55pmAMelbourneW18-14AAMI25,3086th
25Sep 2ndFri 7:55pmHSouthsW26-16Allianz41,9066th
EFSep 11thSun 4:05pmHSouthsL14-30Allianz39,4986th

Best players

The ability of Joseph Manu to change the game on its head with one WOW moment. There were many moments in particular to highlight about Manu's 2022 season, but for me, his ability to patrol around the field causing mayhem for opposing defences is what separates him as the form centre in the competition. Then there's the usual suspect of James Tedesco. The Roosters player of the year for the last five seasons, was once again at his dynamic best in this season. Captaining his side with distinction, lifting them off the canvas in critical situations to save their season.

Disappointment of the Year

After arriving from Penrith fresh off a premiership win. Paul Momirovski arrived with a lot of expectations and it's safe to say his return has been quite a disappointment. Arriving as a ‘defensive-specialist', Momirovski has left a lot to be desired in his first season back at Bondi letting Marion Seve and Grant Anderson put on a clinic in Round 14 which saw him dropped until Billy Smith's unfortunate knee injury in Round 18. Not many Roosters fans would be disappointed if he didn't start the season at centre, he'll need a big off-season and some fortune going his way if his name will be on the team sheet come Round 1.

Rookies

Joseph Suaalii continued his break-out season in spectacular fashion. The recently turned 19 year old had a spectacular break-out season, nabbing 15 tries and delivering a truck-load of meters coming out of yardage. On the debutant front, the only player to debut was Terrell May. May has been the form forward of the KOE NSW Cup, but due to Trent Robinson's weird rotation policy, his game time was limited. However, there's been enough to suggest that he could fight for a bench spot with Taukeiaho's departure. Looking ahead, Siua Wong has been exceptional on the edge for Fiji in the World Cup and with Sitili Tupouniua's injury, Wong is a chance to start the year on the bench.

2022 player stats

PlayerAgeAppTGFGPtsBinOff
BAKER, Fletcher2214------
BUTCHER, Egan22122--81-
BUTCHER, Nat252511--441-
COLLINS, Lindsay2616----1-
CRICHTON, Angus26256--241-
FIFITA, Daniel237------
GILDART, Oliver262------
HUTCHISON, Drew27252--8--
KEARY, Luke30222--8--
KEIGHRAN, Adam252------
LODGE, Matt2792--8--
MANU, Joseph262311--44--
MAY, Terrell239------
MOMIROVSKI, Paul261963-30--
NAIQAMA, Kevin3372--8--
RADLEY, Victor24192--82-
SMITH, Billy227------
SUA'ALI'I, Joseph191915--60--
TAUKEIAHO, Sio Siua30182--8--
TEDESCO, James292413--52--
THOMAS, Ben241------
TUPOU, Daniel312216--64--
TUPOUNIUA, Sitili25167--28--
VERRILLS, Sam23153--12--
WAEREA-HARGREAVES, Jared33203--122-
WALKER, Sam20257911211--
WATSON, Connor26213--12--
27 players26.072511594164980

Looking Ahead

The Roosters have lost a considerable amount of experience, with two premiership winners in Sam Verrills and Sio-Siua Taukeiaho departing the club for greener pastures in 2023. Verrills' departure is off-set by the impending arrival of Brandon Smith.

They've also added Jaxson Paulo and Jake Turpin to their line-up which are handy depth pieces. But, it'll be another off-season of learning to play with each-other, that being said if they catch fire early, then the task of snatching the premiership trophy off Penrith gets easier by the week. 

2023 Round 1 lineup

as at time of writing

1. James Tedesco
2. Daniel Tupou
3. Joseph Manu
4. Joseph Suaalii
5. Jaxson Paulo
6. Luke Keary
7. Sam Walker
8. Jared Waerea-Hargraves
9. Brandon Smith
10. Lindsay Collins
11. Angus Crichton
12. Nat Butcher
13. Victor Radley

14. Connor Watson
15. Egan Butcher
16.  Matthew Lodge
17. Terrell May