As the Sydney Roosters prepare to take on the struggling Dragons today at ANZ Stadium, they must be weary of the wounded St George Illawarra side that features several players playing for contracts as the club continues to push towards a new look under Wayne Bennett in 2009.
Things are already starting to happen at the Dragons, Josh Morris the promising son of Steve Morris has been quickly snapped up by the BulldogsÂ – the rangy outside back frustrated at the lack of first grade opportunities at his current club. Jason Ryles has been touted all week as a possible trade target and coach Nathan Brown has made it clear he won’t be walking away from the club early as pressure continues to take its toll. Old saviour Trent Barrett has also been mentioned, as the club looks to bring home it’s favourite son in the hope of more stability.
This all spells danger for the Roosters. The Dragons are simply so unpredictable at the moment, they could quite easily come out and throw the ball around and rack up 40 points before you even know it. Sure, they have the tendancy to go missing at times too and are able to conceed 40 points just the same.
While Brad Fittler and his side will have prepared for Mark Gasnier taking part, its still tough preparing for the unpredictable Dragons. They are playing some players out of position at the moment, they chop and change positions during the match and you just don’t know what plays they will pull out, because they simply have nothing to lose as it stands presently.
The best thing the Roosters can do, is to ensure their own game is in order and concentrate on being ‘mentally’ up for this clash. Fittler will again have his set plays ready to be rolled out and the Roosters will continue to impress in attack as they have done this year, but it seems the concern for the Bondi boys is remaining pumped for the less important games.
Willie Mason seems to be the biggest culprit in this area. He did it at the Bulldogs and continues to live life the same way, he can have the game of the century on the big stage – but at other times he struggles to lift for the less important clashes. This was never more evident last week than against the Knights, Mason looking in 2nd gear for most of the game and showing signs of laziness in defence as Danny Wicks blasted through to score a nice Knights try.
So with this in mind, the Roosters need to ensure they can register a win against struggling opposition. This will continue to enhance their premiership stocks and show they are truly ready to take on all comers as they emerge as premiership contenders in 2008.