With the 2018 season drawing nearer, we will begin to look at how each team is shaping up for the season ahead.

Today, we take a look at the early favourites; the Sydney Roosters – and what their best 17 looks like.

Sydney Roosters 2018 Player Movements

2018 Gains
Kurt Baptiste (Canberra Raiders, 2019), Cooper Cronk (Melbourne Storm, 2019), Joshua Curran (2019), Matthew Ikuvalu (2018), Lachlan Lam (2018), Dean Matterson (2018), Frank-Paul Nu'uausala (Wigan Warriors, 2018), Reece Robinson (2018), Billy Smith (2019), James Tedesco (Wests Tigers, 2021)
2018 Losses
Paul Carter (released), Kane Evans (Parramatta Eels), Michael Gordon (Gold Coast Titans), Aidan Guerra (Newcastle Knights), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Newcastle Knights), Liam Knight (Canberra Raiders), Mitchell Pearce (Newcastle Knights), Connor Watson (Newcastle Knights)
Re-Signed
Mitch Cornish (2018), Blake Ferguson (2021), Ryan Matterson (2021), Dylan Napa (2021), Victor Radley (2023), Chris Smith (2020), Daniel Tupou (2021), Sitili Tupouniua (2019)
Off Contract 2019
Mitchell Aubusson, Cooper Cronk, Joshua Curran, Brock Lamb, Zane Tetevano, Sitili Tupouniua

2018 Predicted Lineup

  1. James Tedesco
  2. Daniel Tupou
  3. Latrell Mitchell
  4. Blake Ferguson
  5. Joseph Manu
  6. Luke Keary
  7. Cooper Cronk
  8. Dylan Napa
  9. Jake Friend
  10. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
  11. Boyd Cordner
  12. Mitchell Aubusson
  13. Sio Siua Taukeiaho
    INTERCHANGE
  14. Ryan Matterson
  15. Isaac Liu
  16. Zane Tetevano
  17. Victor Radley
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Reserves: Eloni Vunakece, Grant Garvey, Mitch Cornish, Reece Robinson.

Coach: Trent Robinson

The Big Question: Will star signing, Cooper Cronk, deliver a premiership to the Bondi-Junction?

Predicted Finish: 1st

PICK YOUR TEAM: Not happy with the predicted team? Then pick a better one here!

56 COMMENTS

  1. I’d be running Robinson over Manu, but either way it does look very light outside of the starting 17, and even the bench is light.

    That’s a great starting line up, but they’re taking a big risk. If they get a few serious injuries they could have a big fall from grace, far more so than most / all other teams.

    I’d be very surprised if they didn’t make the finals, but wouldn’t be surprised to see them miss the top 4, given injuries are just part and parcel, and given their back ups.

    • G’day eels,

      I agree mate, I wouldn’t be too surprised if we see a shuffle at some point due to injury or Rep periods.

      I’d like to see Friend shuffled to Lock at some point and Young Victor Radley given a shot at starting.

      It’s all well and good for Jake to make 60+ tackles per game, but not at the cost of 0 attacking runs/ metres.

      No attacking creativity from Dummy allows opposition Defence to loosen up the middle in turn tightening up the edges.

      A few testing runs from Dummy would tighten then middle, free up the edges and allow guys like Latrell, Fargo and Manu to have a field day with 1 on 1 opposition.

      Plus Friend at lock allows TKO to drop back to bench and used as front row rotation, I wouldn’t be too surprised if Ryan Matto is used up front either, he’s packed on some serious size.

      As has Latrell, he could easily transition into 2nd row, which would tighten up his Defence.

      Plenty too look forward to, if the coaching team feels like being creative.

      All the best for Parra in 2018!!

      • I was quite surprised about your thoughts on Friend. I was hoping we could have picked him up before Pearce left. Maybe a few more runs out of dummy half from him from mix it up a bit, but I wouldn’t be moving him, or giving him less minutes.

        Given your current squad it looks like Matterson will get plenty of minutes, maybe even getting a starting gig, and running Aubusson off the bench. I’m not sure I’d do that this year, but I’d expect that’s the future role from Aubusson given his flexibility.

        I’d agree L. Mitchell could play in the forwards, but I wouldn’t. I suspect you’ll lose him next year, because he’ll want a FB position.

      • There’s a few things with our squad that concern me.

        Our depth is horrible. There is a massive void between our starting 13 and the rest there after. We are relying on a lot of luck with injuries to be a realistic shot this year.

        Our 1, 6 and 7 is as good as you can (combined) get in the NRL. I think the Storm shade us in this respective with Slater, Smith and Munster. Jake Friend for all his retribution stories, being a clubman, 60 tackles etc. has killed us on so many occasions it is not funny. He lacks creativity, there’s no running craft and his kicking game (including choices) is average at best. The argument of him to lock has annoyed me for the best part of 7-8 years. He is not a lock. Once upon a time the 60 tackles was romantic for locks, but if your lock can’t bend a line or offload for 50-60 mins you are giving away a massive head start in metreage and rotations. Our best play was getting Pearce to be Peter Wallace MKII and Friend being moved on. That was never going to happen for a number of reasons… Jake Friend can thank Daniel Mortimer, SBW, Maloney and Jennings for being a premiership winning 9. Yep, if Daniel Mortimer had a bit more size to handle defensive load he would have deserved to be our starting 9 in that premiership side in my opinion.

        But our middle 3rd is my drama. TKO and Liu came on last year which was good to watch. TKO has improvement left in him I believe especially on the back of still relatively fresh knee reco, where Liu is at his peak with what he showed last year. The concern with our middle 3rd though is how far backwards JWH and Napa went. They were horrible last year particularly Napa, and extremely horrible when it mattered. Watching what the 2 of them served up in our finals campaign was jaw dropping. Compare our middle 3rd to Storm (NAS, Brom, Glasby, Kasiano), Cowboys (Scott, Maclean, Taumalolo, Bolton) and Panthers (Tamou, RCG, Merrin) there is a sizeable void. What we do on the right edge will be key as well. It needs to be a good choice to help sort the centre/wing pairing on that side, which for me should be Fergo/Manu/Cronk/Maubs.

        On top of this Trent Robbinson lost some of his gloss with me last year. His inability to fix our horrendous handling, inability to bring anything inventive or revolutionary throughout his tenure and some of his brain dead choices (ala carrying Tupou on bench v Cowboys and backrowers playing centre) left me scratching my head. All this with the assistance of A. Johns and Taylor.

        There’s plenty there to give us hope in reflecting on the above doom. This being that 1-7 could be anything. If Manu can get his D sorted, which I am hoping Cronk can help with, I think him and Latrel can win us any game from anywhere on the field. If Teddy and my favourite Rooster Cordner can stay fit and be firing at the back end after origin our chances sky rocket.

        At the end of the day anythingnis better than wearing red and green. 😁

        • Man you were going so good Madrooster but spoiled it with that last comment, but what you said overall was quite intelligent and very good description, Mitchell will look good in red and green, don’t for one minute think Souths are going to take the Crichton signing lying down, there will be payback.

        • I think Latrell Mitchell will be playing on the Wing and then in the Centres for NSW SOO before he plays in the second row for the Roosters. Call it a lucky guess.

        • Latrell M should be centre at club level and getting the ball in his hands at least once per set. He needs to be challenged and he needs to be kept in the game, something we were also poor at last year. There were games where he saw/touched the ball single digits per game.

        • Digits are something Angus Crichton is fast running out of. Not to worry, Souths will make sure “Gus” is all thumbs by 2019. 😂

  2. My mate told me that many clubs/officials/sponsors are rumored to have complained to the NRL that easts are way over the cap in 2018 and they will be investigated FACT!!!…Stay tuned….

    Shadow…

    • “Are rumoured to have complained”

      Followed up by,

      “And they will be investigated FACT”

      So which one is it, rumours or FACTS.

      It’s ok, take your time responding. Think through these FACTS, thoroughly.

    • Like you shadow I am stung by the Roosters line-up for 2018 which beggars belief that they can be still under the cap but I have to agree with roosters1989 in that you have painted yourself into a corner on this one. Rumours and facts are fundamentally and irreconcilably contradictory propositions and mutually exclusive to your argument. They cannot both be true.

      Btw, are you and f0reverin0urshadow/its0nlyagame one and the same? There are so many profiles here that change faces that it is beginning to feel like a masked ball. roosters1989, I can’t remember you posting before and you sound a little like WoodChook. Have you posted here before the end of last season?

    • Shadow, stop making things up, Easts are not going to get audited , they should be , but you are making yourself out to be an idiot , just comment on what you think will happen and leave this FACT thing behind, cause most on this site will remember your comments and when they don’t come true, nobody will respect what your saying, I dislike Easts has much as anyone and believe that they will limp into the finals, but, just give your opinion and be done with that, unless your 100% certain that what you say will happen.

  3. Few injuries during season,plus soo and doubt cronk will be the saviour many think he will be plus limited forwards.Top 8 but not much more

  4. Not sure what the general opinion is but this site has gone backwards over the last 12 months. Too many nut jobs ruining it for ppl who want footy talk and friendly banter

    • banter away redv13. Only happy to oblige and there are others here who will join in, like “the 3 wise men” who got lost following a star over Christmas but should be back at some point. That may sound like the ravings of a “nut job” but there are others here who understand well enough.

  5. Cronk is a class act , HOWEVER ! As shown when they played Nulla in GF he is to structured and must play to a script! That will be very evident this year , not his fault after all he is “fake” and not a genuine 7 ! Easts will duplicate a lot of storm plays this year wait n see , they have no choice , big mistake in my view moving Pearce on , it’s forwards they lack big time
    Pearce will give more to Newie when comparing what cooper will bring to Easts, I don’t have them in top 4 there only there because of perception there are clubs far more powerful up front

    • I agree to an extent,

      Our biggest flaw, and I’ve been vocal about this since 2013. Is Jake Friend directing play and Trent Robinson as coach.

      2013 was won on the back of James Maloney in the halves, SBW attracting so much attention and his 2nd phase play. Plus Luke O’Donnell and Sam Moa adding that much needed mongrel up front that JWH and Napa cannot replicate.

      Michael Jennings is leaps and bounds ahead of Fergusson and Mitchell is still far too raw to be relied on as that consistent spark in our back line.

      2018 was our year IF Pearce remained as hooker (never going to happen, ego aside he’s a walk in at most clubs for halves)

      And friend needed to be taken out of that spine position, no club can afford a hooker who has 0 runs for 0 metres in any game, regular season or finals.

      Which brings me to Trent and his rotation policy….. or lack of…….. what the f#@k…..

  6. Been a few years since I’ve posted on here..

    I see Majority of the regulars are no longer with us.. Panthers3, itsamansgame, RedV13 and a few others.

    Unless I’m mistaken, then apologies and hello folks.

    A few new faces on here, quiet a few Parra supporters which is a welcomed change from the Souff Sydney supports 😉

    • chalky, pedro the saint and tommyknocker still post from time to time and they have been here for than just a few years. Some here now post under different profile names for varying reasons. Welcome back, it looks like you have an informed opinion about the Roosters at least and it is a welcome change to see more posts that are relevant and insightful.

      Pearce’s running game (or speed to the defensive line) to setup Keary or backrowers like Cordner was a big part of the Roosters success in 2017 IMO. It will be missed, along with his combinations with Friend and Keary. Nevertheless, neither Pearce or Keary have a kicking game which means Cronk will be a definite plus for the Roosters. Had the Roosters signed a lesser player at HB Keary would have been exposed as he depends on the work of others to look the part.

      Crichton will be a big inclusion in 2019 but he still has to replicate his 2017 form for Souths in 2018 to prove he is every bit as good as he looks. I’m expecting big things from “knuckles” for the Bunnies in 2018.

  7. Yeah there depth looks a bit thin
    I’m still predicting they will finish top 4 though
    There 1,6,7,9 look very good
    Will be hard to stop
    Still think cowboys have the best line up I’ve seen so far

  8. People are kidding themselves saying they wont finish top 4, its obvious thats where theyll finish and probably play a grand final. As for their depth? Saying their depth is bad thats just silly.

    • Nothing is certain holmsey. Injuries and suspensions can play a part and both Cronk and Tedesco have to get used to a new team and a new system, that does not happen overnight. Despite their line-up I am not expecting the Roosters to be overly impressive from day one. It would be surprising if they did not finish top 4 in 2018 but stranger things have happened. I think the Panthers are certainly looking good for 2018 once Maloney and Cleary settle into a working combination. The Panthers, unlike the Roosters, will be flying under the radar in 2018 while all teams will be primed for the Storm and the Chooks. It is difficult to aim up against teams that lift each week to play the competition favourites and each year there are always at least 3 teams that can’t replicate the form of the season before.

      The Cowboys, who out did themselves in 2018, will only be better with Thurston and Scott back in the squad and along with the other 3 would be the teams that I expect will make up the top 4 in 2018. If Hayne has a an unexpected return to form (doubtful) the Eels may challenge for a top 4 spot but as I said, anything can happen. Even Souths could pull another Rabbit out of the hat! 😉

    • So tell us Holmsey, tell us about Easts depth, they have nought mate , there eggs are in one basket ! Cronks ! There light and soft up front , but I’m interested in it here depth where is it ?

      • Holmsey, I think you’re thinking of “depth” in a different context to some of us at least.

        They’ve got all positions covered, with very good players for the most part, 1 through 13, and an O.K bench, but what’s behind that, to cover injuries / rep duties, and that’s what, some of us at least, are referring to as the lack of depth.

        You can’t get through a season without some injuries, so who / how many is likely to be the key as to where they end up, far more so than most teams.

        • Their depth is actually pretty good.

          Backs:
          Robinson
          Lam
          Cornish
          Lewis
          O’Sullivan
          Frei

          Forwards:
          Vunakece
          Garvey
          Gray
          Smith
          Collins
          Butcher

          Thats some very good depth, espeically in the Halves and outside backs, I dont know where you all got the notion they got bad backups.

        • Wow, and I thought it was just Manly players you over rated.

          Robinson is very good, so much so that I’d expect him to start over Manu, but either way there’s 1 quality back up, but then the list is pretty slim pickings.

          Given injuries are inevitable, not to mention rep duties, they will get a chance to run some of these young guys, and who knows, maybe there’s a star or two amongst them that thrive given the opportunity to play, specially amongst the talent that’s in their starting side, but listing their back up, to me at least, has just further highlighted their lack of depth.

        • Never knew you were so arrogant eelsalmighty, your little comments arent going unoticed, little comments every single time I post, heres a tip leave it alone.

        • I’m not sure how the comments above make me arrogant, but each to their own.

          I do reply to your posts pretty regularly, as I do to many others, but I’m not intentionally singling you out, nor am I having a personal crack. It’s more of a case of we often have differing opinions, and isn’t that what the site is about, sharing. / expressing opinions?

          Anyway, if I’ve offended you, I apologise, but in fairness, I also think you’re being a bit too thin skinned mate.

        • He isn’t talking he is typing and he is simply trying to throw his cloak over something that got vomited up and was a hazard for others to trip up on.

          “I dont know where you all got the notion they got bad backups”

          Are you sure you aren’t holmsey’s younger brother? Your usual standard is a little south of the mark if I am not mistaken.

        • I thought along similar lines, in that maybe this wasn’t actually Holmsey, so I left him alone, but I saw the carnage on the Bunnies article.

          If it wasn’t Holmsey, he’s going to be fuming at whoever it is. That said, from all of those posts, of it wasn’t / isn’t Holmsey, they know him very, very well.

    • #21 was getting nearer as well after 1971, too bad it took 43 years to get there though. I would prefer it if #22 would appear without a Halley’s Comet like interval between titles. Btw, it is exactly 43 years from 2018 until the next appearance of Halley’s Comet. Perhaps it’s a sign? 😉

  9. Easts play Tigers, Knights, and Warriors in the first 4 weeks of the comp. They play Tigers, Knights, Warriors and Titans each twice throughout the season…the teams most have pegged as the bottom 4. They play Storm, Cowboys and Sharks once each…teams most have in their top 4. I could say it’s been set up for them to succeed…I think if they turn up for round 1 they’ll be in the finals.

    • Rabbits where have you been? I have posted on this at length just prior to Christmas. The Roosters have the easiest draw of the competition by FAR in 2018. Some might even say the best draw that money can buy.

      NRL draw: Winners and losers – who prospered and suffered?

      Rank in difficulty: 16 Sydney Roosters

      Who they play twice: Wests Tigers (14th), Knights (16th), Titans (15th), Sea Eagles (6th), Dragons (9th), Bulldogs (11th), Rabbitohs (12th), Warriors (13th), Broncos (3rd).

      Who they play once: Sharks, Panthers, Storm, Cowboys, Raiders, Eels.

      Games against top eight sides: 9

      Games against bottom eight sides: 14

      Where life gets easy: The Roosters face back-to-back games against top eight sides just twice in 2018, and their opening eight games sees them face only one top-eight side (Sharks). The Roosters lucked out in the draw, and there is bound to be irritation from other clubs.

      http://www.sportingnews.com/au/league/list/nrl-draw-winners-and-losers-live-stream-how-to-watch-prospered-suffered/157ahkmgvo33i1xa4826koyjgl/slide/1

  10. Very strong 17 but a few ??
    Teddy staying injury free
    Cronk replicating hes storm form.
    Ferguson is in my opinion a defensive liabiliy as centre.
    Much better winger.
    JWH can not do it on hes own with an injury cloud over cordner as well.
    They really put all their eggs in one basket.
    Could either be a master stroke or a disaster.

    Aside from the 17 the cupboards look bare and a if a few injuries hit it could really hurt.
    Top 4 yes premiers i have my doubts
    Not because im a rabbits supporter but i think a direct swap with Angus for Latrell would benefit the chooks more than Souths.
    Their forwards would look a gell of a lot better

  11. Roosters have stronger depth than most in the comp, I think a lot of you are counting on Roosters having a major injury toll like 2015 but that wont be happening. Theyre covered and top 4 is a given, only team that can probably topple them for the top spot is NQ.

    • No comment.

      P.S – that’s just a little joke, nothing personal, but given your comment above I just couldn’t help myself.

      • Just make sure you aren’t talking while you are typing mighty and you will still be following his instructions to the letter.

    • Holmesy,
      Your very much over compensating of just being die hard manly.
      Roosters do not have good depth in any position, they’re starting forwards aren’t up to it to start with let alone the back ups.
      And really Mitchell and Tupou is a very good left edge but Ferguson/Manu,
      Well that is right down the bottom of combinations, especially with Ferguson playing centre

      • You are right crowy. Wouldn’t you agree that holmsey’s attack (above) on mighty is taking it a bit too far as well?

        holmsey
        January 14, 2018 at 12:39 pm

        holmsey
        January 14, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    • The top 4 is NEVER a given and the teams that believe otherwise don’t make it that far. That is why there is so much time invested into psychology in the game these days reinforcing the mantra of “playing one game at a time”. I HOPE the Roosters truly believe they are certainties for a top 4 finish and GF appearance. It will ruin their season completely if they do. With Cronk at the helm though there is little chance of that happening. Weren’t the Panthers and Raiders “certainties” for top 4 finishes in 2017 this time last year holmsey? What happened?

    • the blokes a first grade drop kick , just read how pathetic his posts are , you can pick up very quickly that he has no idea and maybe 3/4 years of watching footy ,
      SSTID post that link where DCE confesses to throwing in the towel on 2016 season, maybe like last year he will read it and disappear

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