2016 finish: Finals week two
The coach says: Rip Taylor was forced to use more than 40 players last season. “We had one of those years off the back of injuries where we didn’t have a lot of stability . . . that obviously makes it tough to get any continuity,” he says. The No.6 jersey was donned by no fewer than seven players, including Jackson Hastings, Connor Watson and Ryan Matterson, but Taylor says a new-look halves pairing of Jayden Nikorima and Mitch Cornish is cause for optimism. So, too, is the Roosters’ recruitment of Paul Carter and Liam Knight, who are both likely to chalk up plenty of game time at Morry Breen Oval. While Taylor expects his team to be in the semis again, he says they’ll need to tighten up their defence. And with a number of Roosters under-20s players ready to test themselves against fringe and former first-graders, much will depend on how they handle the jump in class.
Player to watch: Jake Lewis ( left) is a big bloke with the big raps. “Jake came from the Roosters 20s in 2015, did a plantar fascia in his foot and only started playing again in late May last year,” his coach says. “He’s had a massive off-season and he’s a kid I think can hold his gloves up. He reminds me a bit of Dave Tyrrell from the Bunnies in that he’s a real tradesman, he’s got a big motor and his attention to detail is very good.”
KEY GAINS: Mitch Cornish, Liam Knight, Paul Carter
KEY LOSSES: Jackson Hastings, Tyler Cornish, Dom Reardon, Joey Lussick, Omar Slaimankhel