How the mighty have fallen: Rebuilding the Rooster

In search of their 1000th victory for what seems like years, the once mighty Sydney City Roosters are living in the NRL cellar and merely a shadow of their former selves.

One could only imagine the rage of chairman Nick Politis – watching his team get belted on a weekly basis, by now he could probably write a thesis as to why the Roosters aren’t performing. Change the coach? Done. Make positional changes? Done. Inject youth? Done. The result – continuing losses.

New coach Chris Anderson must be wondering what he got himself into; when looking at the Roosters line-up on paper – one can understand why Anderson accepted the job. Braith Anasta, Anthony Minichiello, Nate Myles, Craig Fitzgibbon, Amos Roberts and Craig Wing are just some of the talent at the coaches disposal.

The overall Rugby League program at the Roosters is rated among the best in the NRL. Former coaches such as Phil Gould and Ricky Stuart strived hard to implement structured development programs and successful training systems, while nurturing confidence and a winning mentality.

Sadly, the current form slump has seen these traits lost all too quickly. When you look at the basic formula for a successful Rugby League team – which is to have supreme talent at the 1, 7 and 9 (Fullback, Half and Hooker) the Roosters have been or are currently lacking in these areas.

While fullback Minichiello is considered one of the best in the role of custodian, he has seen a full season on the sideline – which is where the slump started. His return couldn’t come soon enough, having Mini back will help no one can do it on their own.

The hooking role at the Roosters has been shared around too much in recent times. Craig Wing is also known as a star in this slot, but the Roosters have tried throwing Finch into the role and countless others and this revolving door policy at hooker has also shot the team in the foot.

Finally the all important position of half-back has been shared around like a town bike. The Roosters have tried Finch, Soward, Lewis and now Mitchell Pearce at the all important no. 7 – with virtually no success.

These problems in the main positions are compounded when you look at some of the surrounding roles. Fitzgibbon the respected hardworking forward has become easy pickings for opposition defensive lines as his attacking style has become very one dimensional and less potent due to his extra tackling work and when you look out wider some of the backs in Roberts and Soliola struggle with decision making in some situations.

The Roosters have dug such a hole for themselves now that in some instances they are actualy trying too hard. Watching Braith Anasta last weekend against Manly, he tried his guts out – but there doesn’t seem to be the enjoyment there and hence passes were forced, kicking length was out and the communication just wasn’t there.

Chris Anderson would be looking everywhere for the answers and leaving no stone unturned. Maybe the Roosters should forget about training for a week to clear their minds totally of football – this might be the clarity they need.

One thing is for sure, if the answers aren’t found soon – the Roosters might not get win 1000 in this Rugby League year.
Rugby League

By ricky

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