2017 was the season that got away from the Roosters. They finished second yet were bounced out of the finals by a traveling Cowboys outfit, despite a huge home ground advantage. The 29-16 result will have haunted the Roosters well into the off-season as they had every factor in their corner.

That said, the result should not take away from their otherwise brilliant 2017 season. They finished second only behind the Storm, who themselves were one of the all-time great NRL outfits.

Only the Storm and Sharks conceded less points than the Roosters, while their 500 points scores saw them place sixth in that regard. The much talked about additions to the side should help lift that standing even higher.

The Roosters won plenty of games on the field and also win the recruitment battles off it, as will be discussed below.

Recruitment Grading: A

The tri-colours landed the two biggest signings of the NRL off-season in bringing James Tedesco and Cooper Cronk to the club. NRL fans will need no introduction to the rep auto-selections and will need no convincing of the abilities they bring to the club. Cooper Cronk has almost forgotten how to lose after taking the Storm, QLD and Australian rep sides to glory in the past 12 months. He is a wonderful player and a calm head on and off the field. Tedesco is one of the game’s best fullbacks and could very well ascend to the mantle of THE best in a much stronger Roosters outfit. Scary.

Star Player: Cooper Cronk

The Roosters have taken a monster punt in doing so but they’ve managed to add one of the game’s top two halves to their roster. They’ve armed him with weaponry that includes Tedesco, Mitchell, Ferguson, Tupou and Cordner. He’ll be fed by Jake Friend, while being lead and protected by JWH and Dylan Napa. The Roosters set up is very similar to the Storm side that Cronk lead to glory on multiple occasions. Cronk’s talent should lift those around him while his experience will help mentor the younger players in the squad. He’s arguably the signing of the season and will be expected to lead the Roosters to similar success that the Storm enjoyed during his tenure at the club.

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Strength: Best side in the competition

From 1 through 17 this Roosters side is elite. The Cowboys may give them a run for their money but across the park THIS is the best side in the competition, at least on paper. They’ve added Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco to an already all-star team that managed to finish second in last season’s regular rounds. That’s a scary prospect. Add to that the fact that Latrell Mitchell has another pre-season under his belt and is ready to tear the competition apart. A lot will depend on how Tedesco and Cronk settle in but given their pedigree I can’t see that being even the slightest of problems.

Weakness: Expectation

This Roosters side MUST win a Premiership in the next two seasons. The decision to move club legend Mitchell Pearce on in order to bring Cooper Cronk in makes that a cold, hard reality. If they don’t lift the trophy at least once before Cronk retires, then this decision will be put under a microscope by fans like no other decision before it. It’s a huge gamble and it must pay off. Every other NRL side will be fired up to play the Roosters given the strength of their side. Add to that the fact that every non-Rooster fan wants to see them fail for laughs and you have yourself a genuine pressure cooker environment. There will be pressure on every member of Trent Robinson’s squad after the Roosters opened a ridiculously short priced premiership favourite.

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Prediction: 1st

Disaster aside, anything less than a Minor Premiership will probably be seen as a let down. This side SHOULD go all the way, but rugby league is a funny game.

Tedesco and Cronk are obviously monster ins, especially considering this side finished second only to one of the all time great Storm sides across 26 NRL competition rounds in 2017.

Teams will have done their home work across the off-season looking for ways to beat this side so the likes of Manu, Mitchell and Ferguson should prepare for a lot of traffic. The Roosters outside backs have been caught out of position in years gone by so expect an early and often onslaught from opposition teams.

If Robinson can fix up that slight weakness, the Roosters may very well be close to unstoppable in 2018.

They’ll have to overcome a brilliant Cowboys side, as well as the 2017 Premiers the Storm (albeit without Cronk) while the likes of Penrith, the Sharks and the Eels can’t be discounted, but on paper, the Roosters stand above the rest as clear premiership favourites.


  1. Don’t worry if they don’t win it this year they will just buy more players. Cause they’re still $2m under the cap right…

  2. For mine, the only interest in this club’s fortunes is how well Cronk goes outside of the Storm, and how well the Storm go without Cronk. The rest of their story is kinda hollow.

  3. Pretty easy team to preview, anything less than 2nd would be a failed season in my eyes.

    Best player: Tedesco
    Best buy: Tedesco
    Finish: 1st

  4. It’s not simply a case of ‘adding Cronk to the team that finished second last year’. They’ve lost Pearce, so in order for them to gain anything Cronk has to first manage Pearce’s 7 tries and 14 try assists just to break even from last year. Despite his poor NSW career Pearce has been a pretty damn good club player You could argue that over the past five years Pearce has been the most successful halfback at club level with a premiership, three minor premierships and a second place finish last year…..Tedesco has been the major signing for the Roosters

    • The big problem with Mitch Pearce which he refused to fix was his useless kicking game. The so called experts have been falsely praising Pearce that his kicking game is an asset. But believe me and see for your self it is totally shocking. Bombs are to deep and hardly ever contested by his team mates. General kicks on the 6th go straight to the Fullback or wingers and he hardly ever gets repeat sets of six close to the in goal. His play throughout the regular season is good but he will not take control of a semi final and dictate the advantage. In other words he goes missing in the games that count at the end of the season. However he did refine his field goals and got the Roosters home 2 or 3 times last season on those.

      Cronk is a natural orginiser who will easily surpass Pearce’s 14 try assists by about double that amount. Cronks kicking game is first class and he always gets repeat sets of six when in the oppositions goal line. Cronk my not score 10 tries himself but he will be involved some how with at least 50 or 60 tries through out this season, please remember I’m not saying he will give the final pass to that amount but in the lead up his hands will be involved. Cronk is 4 plays ahead of his opposition and his vision is in the same class as Thurston. Hence Thurston being shafted to 5/8 for Australia & Queensland for the past many seasons.

      • Double? Cronk had 14 try assists last year – the same as Pearce. Pearce however didn’t have Vunivalu or Ado-Carr to kick to like Cronk did, or Billy Slater lurking on the inside for short passes. Cronk is no doubt a better player than Pearce but at club level the gap is a lot closer than most people realise.

    • I was agreeing up to the tedesco bit. He is so overrated its a joke he gets too highly rated for what little he does

  5. salary cap audited and exposed as a sham – lose all points gained and slip to bottom of the table.
    bahaha – one can only hope.
    If they don’t make GF (provided they continue to defy the odds and escape review) it will be a failure on their part.

    • Won’t happen Billy.
      They have hired Schubert to cook the books. Former Roosters player and former NRL salary cap auditor. Who better to sweep the cheating under the rug.
      Anyway two or three bad injuries and they won’t make the 8 as they have the worst depth in the NRL.

      • Gentlemen, I’d bet London to a brick that the total value of all registered player contracts by the Roosters, and any other club for that matter, is within the salary cap. Seriously, I could do the maths behind that on an abacus (the actual tool, not the brand) in a matter of minutes. An “audit” (checking the maths), shouldn’t find anything.

        If you, or others, think they are running two sets of books and/or abusing the TPA regulations, and/or making cash payments, well they are all different, and fraudulent, issues which an actual “audit” won’t pick up.

        With all the attention the Roosters are getting this year, well I just shake my head, because IF there is anything untoward with the Roosters cap this year it is ongoing from previous years (this year in itself is not/has not caused the breach).

  6. Yes best side inthe comp on oaper.
    2 or 3 players go down as it is inevitable.
    Tedesco and Cordner
    The cupboard looks a bit bare.
    But lets not worry.
    They still have 7 mill under their cap to buy some.more

  7. Nowhere near the best team in the comp I would comfortably rate the cowboys and storm better sides

    Roosters have a few weaknesses starting with their backline, Tupou and Ferguson are both error prone wingers and very poor defenders, Latrell and Manu are very fragile in defense and Tedesco is very overrated with his running sideways game and drifting in and out of matches. Their forward pack aswell, JWH and Napa have been ordinary for the last 2 years and got dominated in the finals, the bench is probably one of the most ordinary too with Evans Guerra and Watson all leaving itll leave it radley, tetevano taukeiaho and matterson, only 1 prop and 2 utilities so dont be shocked if they finish out of the top 4

  8. I think Tetevano, Taukeiaho and Matterson are all capable of playing front row. Matterson has packed on so much muscle in the past two years that he is bigger and heavier than JWH

  9. Question for people that feel like roosters are over the cap , do you feel the same way about cowboys? Imo the cowboys have the better side with more backups (mostly in the backs) I would definitely say roosters were over the cap when they were keeping pearce too but now hes gone I believe their under

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