Roosters Crowing Already
Friday night’s match has already got every Roosters fan crowing.
Whilst Manly might not be everyone’s favourite (that’s putting it mildly), to those unique Rooster Booster, Souths losing is a wonderful bonus no matter who beats them. On a weekend of potential joy everywhere for them, a second grand final in four seasons awaits them while the poor old Rabbits go into their “forty somethingth years” without a visit to the biggest day of the season.
All that will evaporate tonight at the Footy Stadium without a Sydney win. Unlikely? Maybe so.
The Roosters have a great advantage in speed and agility particularly in the forward pack – even more so if SBW plays.
But the Knights have the underdog tag which they love. They have the most experienced finals coach ever (versus a rookie coach). These two commodities bring a useful cocktail to what might otherwise look like a lopsided affair.
The Knights have rarely looked like a finals team in season 2013 while the Roosters have looked like good things for the premiership for months, perhaps even before a ball was kicked. All this finals stuff is a bonus for the Newcastle faithful while the “redwhiteandbluesters” high expectations have reached new proportions!
Wayne Bennett will be basking in this situation. He has been talking widely with the media (yes that is true) and smiling his way to this sudden death match with some of the most experienced players in the NRL.
Trent Robinson has been defending the attempts by some media to join the dots for their latest “scandal”. (read more on these issues here). And keep his many youngsters and star half back focussed on the big match.
If this game is lost mentally the Knights will win. If it’s won physically they both have a good chance. If it’s won by footy skills and tactics the Roosters could romp it in!
The opening period of the game will be even more important than it always is. Have you heard the old coaches saying “you can’t win a game in the first 20 minutes but you can lose it”?
Well I reckon that might be reversed in this match; at least for the Roosters.
If the well – rested Roosters come out firing, execute brilliantly as they have done so many times in 2013 they could blow the Knights away. I could see some of those mighty veteran Knights feeling the pinch in defence chasing the blistering speed of powerful, skilful young opponents. That could quickly become a blowout.
On the other hand if the Knights gain an early lead while I think there may be issues for the Roosters they will retain the capacity to explode with a passage of points even late in the second half as they have also done a number of times this season. I think the Knights are limited in accumulating points against quality defences.
However if the Knights can get in the contest and stay there for a long period of the game the mental aspects may well kick in. Nil all will do – then the Knights have a strong advantage.
While the Roosters were outstanding in defence in the 4 nil play-off match recently versus Manly, there have been a few occasions where they have looked lost in attack when under pressure.
Ironically this will provide Mitchell Pearce with another opportunity to show he can think, control and organise his team in those pressured circumstances. He sure will need to do that facing Manly in the GF.
Oooops I am sounding like those Roosters fans already rejoicing.
My Tip: if SBW plays (and is fit) Roosters by PLENTY (the thought of all the teams youngsters together on that left side defence – Rochow, Roberts, Leilua and Naiqama trying to stop attacks led by the big Kiwi scares me).