Rooster Revival, Sad Souths

What a difference 12 months can make. In a trend that continues amongst NRL teams, sides can go from the penthouse to the outhouse and vice versa in the space of 6 months it seems.

Take the Canterbury Bulldogs 2009 rebuilding, or the late season comeback by the Parramatta Eels. Well, it might only be Round 1, but the new look Sydney Roosters showed a tonne of promise today – beating the star-studded Souths side and beating them well.

It was the Roosters 36 defeating Souths 10. Yes, you read that right.

As expected, it was physical early on – with the new Bunnies pack trying to dominate, but the lesser known Rooster forwards were having none of it.

Former Bulldog Nick Kouparitsis was thrown into start at hooker to add some size and performed admirably, giving good service and added starch.

Former badboy Nate Myles has shed around 10 kilos and was running round like a 15 year old in the backyard. Myles at one stage chasing down Nathan Merritt and then repeating it all again to rope in Beau Champion.

The efforts of Myles typified the new-look Chooks. They were hungry again. There might have been new faces like the electric Todd Carney, who was involved in everything and almost all of that turned to gold or the old-is-new Jason Ryles coming back for another crack at NRL – but what about 2009 Roosters that look to have been given new hearts?

Brian Smith might not be the Wizard of Oz, but he has some massive similarities.

Shaun Kenny-Dowall was playing at his peak, his speed, footwork and finishing was all there. Big name halves Braith Anasta and Mitchell Pearce looked much more relaxed with the likes of Todd Carney injecting himself on every 2nd play and taking the onus off them.

Carney was superb. Chosing the right times to get involved and creating chances with most touches.

Brian Smith again proving his nous, what a decision to play the former Canberra star at custodian.

For the Bunnies it was a day they’ll want to forget and quickly.

Their emperor Russell Crowe may have been on the balcony of the corporate box for the start of this game, but he was MIA as the cameras panned to him when the damage was being done.

Veteran Johnny Lang won’t panic over one heavy loss, but he’ll need to convince his troops it isn’t the end of the world.

The expectations are high for the Bunnies and their blue chip buys for 2010 – but had the Nathan Merritt breakaway try been scored – the score would have been 18-12 and this grudge match may have taken a whole different course.

The Souths forwards were making decent metres, but loose carries and poor passing choices were killing them. Combine that with some lazy penalties, and the mountain begins to grow.

Ahhh NRL, we love it.

One game to go tomorrow night and it all starts again next weekend.

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