Chooks Crowing About A Dynasty

Picture: Mark Evans/dailytelegraph.com.au
Sonny Bill Williams is a key for the Roosters again in 2014. Picture: Mark Evans/dailytelegraph.com.au

No NRL club has gone back-to-back since the Brisbane Broncos in 1992 and 1993, but the Sydney Roosters are not only talking of defending their premiership, but starting a dynasty. With a roster boasting the likes of Sonny Bill Williams, Michael Jennings, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Daniel Tupou, Anthony Minichiello, Boyd Cordner, Aidan Guerra and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves multiple premierships are possible, but a long-shot according to results of the last two decades. The off-season has been relatively kind to the Tricolours, having only lost tough forwards Luke O’Donnell (retired) and Martin Kennedy (Broncos).

The premier’s first assignment is South Sydney at ANZ Stadium. Twelve months ago, the Rabbitohs were successful in the opening round at the Roosters’ chook-pen (Allianz Stadium) 28-10. That was reversed in September, when the Bondi boys got up 24-12 at ANZ Stadium. The Bunnies have had numerous changes to their roster, with 13 players departing. Their main losses are; Matt King and Mick Crocker, who both retired, as well as Nathan Peats, Roy Asotasi, Dylan Farrell, Andrew Everingham and Jeff Lima who’ve moved on. Lote Tuqiri, Joel Reddy and Joe Picker are handy additions to their books.

Both clubs are mindful of making the most of their departing super-stars, Sonny Bill Williams and Sam Burgess, who are heading to rugby union at season’s end. Burgess has been instrumental in Souths finishing top-three in the past two seasons. His tough defence, hard running and inspirational plays have lifted the Bunnies. Along with his brothers George, Thomas and Luke, big Sam is set for a mighty swansong from the greatest game of all. The long term injury to Luke Keary (shoulder) has hurt the Rabbits and depth could be an issue for them in 2014. However, any side with the class of Greg Inglis, Adam Reynolds, the Burgess brothers, Isaac Luke, John Sutton, Chris McQueen and Ben Te’o is a force.

The boys from Redfern looked good beating St George Illawarra in the Charity Shield 28-18 and made the finals of the Auckland Nines, before being eliminated by the Warriors 17-16. The Roosters had one win at the Nines – beating grand-finalist Brisbane 14-7 on the opening day.

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