The Sydney Roosters have been the biggest improver’s in the 2008 NRL so far. With the injection of fresh talent for this season and a distinct air of confidence under Brad Fittler, they have been a runaway success – beating the Melbourne Storm and pulling off some other impressive wins over the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Bulldogs.
They were firming in everyones mind as the real contender for this year, but winning the NRL certainly requires every single star to align and for the Roosters, a few of their stars just fell out of the sky.
In an instant, things have changed.
Shockwaves went through the Bondi camp today with prominent fullback Anthony Minichiello ruled out indefinitely after further problems with his back. The explosive custodian has had on-going problems with his back for the last 18 months and even after such an impressive return in 2008, it seems he was still not 100% healthy.
Mini’s presence alone brings so much to the Roosters, boosting the confidence of the younger guys just by being there. His form after such a long layoff was nothing short of amazing.
While Sam Perrett will capably fill-in at fullback if needed, with respect – Anthony Minichiello is fairly irreplaceable. The high flying Roosters certainly losing Minichiello at the worst possible time.
Things got even worse for the Bondi men today when it came to light that improving forward David Shillington was sacked from this weeks game after turning up late to training after an alleged late night drinking session. The Roosters have an alcohol ban in place and to their credit, they enforced the agreed penalties on Shillington.
It’s a shame for Shillington to have broken the rules, the large forward really coming of age beside the likes of Willie Mason and Mark O’Meley – his stature in the NRL really exploding in the early rounds of 2008.
To make things worse, their human-headline Willie Mason is also expected to miss game time with a niggling leg injury.
Let me just say that old Rugby League cliche again “A week is a long time in the NRL” and the high flying Roosters have just had their dose of the medicine.
This week the Sydney Roosters face the form Panthers at CUA Stadium, this could be a tough road trip and their confident run of form is set to be really tested as they lose big name players and suffer the annoyance of poor player discipline.