‘Roosters will retain title’


SYDNEY: The last two captains to attempt the feat predict Sydney Roosters can do what they couldn’t and become the first team in 21 years to successfully defend the National Rugby League title.
Not since Brisbane went back-to-back in 1997-98 has a side lifted the trophy in consecutive years but the first was during the Super League war.
In a unified league, Brisbane are still the last team to go back-to-back — in 1992-93 in the New South Wales Rugby League competition. The Roosters now get their chance when they face Canberra, playing in their first grand final in 25 years, at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.
Melbourne captain Cameron Smith fell shot last year when the Storm were stunned by the Roosters in a one-sided decider.
And, after having their title run ended by the defending champions in Saturday’s 6-14 preliminary final loss, Smith backs the Roosters to end the back-to-back drought.
“I think it’s going to be a great game. Both sides play totally different styles of footy,” Smith said.
“But if the Roosters come out and play the way they did tonight, particularly defend the way they did, I think they may go back to back.”
Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen is also well-acquainted with the difficulty of defending their crown.
Having led the Sharks to their maiden title in 2016, Gallen’s side were eliminated in the first week of the finals the following year.
But Gallen also thinks the Roosters are poised to claim the title again. “They’ve just got so many superstars right across the park,” Gallen said.
“You look at their forward pack. They get (Jared) Waerea-Hargreaves back, they’ve got Boyd Cordner there who I thought was man of the match (on Saturday).
“Then you look at their backline — (Luke) Keary, (Cooper) Cronk, Latrell Mitchell, (Joseph) Manu, Brett Morris, is in as good a form in his career as I’ve ever seen. And then James Tedesco, the best player in the game at the moment.” – AAP

Leave a Reply