Pre-Season Prediction: 1st
Actual Finish: 2nd (Premiers)
– Back to back: The experts said it wasn’t possible, at this level of professional sport it’s not meant to be possible but the Roosters delivered back to back Premierships.
The 14-8 win capped off two incredible, almost unbelievable seasons. James Tedesco running in a match-winning try was seemingly written in stone from very early on in the season.
Everything the Roosters touched turned to gold as highlighted below.
– Young talent shining through when needed: Sam Verrills, Nat Butcher, Lindsay Collins, Matt Ikuvalu.
The list above are all young Roosters who stood up when counted upon.
Verrills especially had a magical season. He earned his grand final spot despite Jake Friend being fit. He even scored the opener on grand final day.
With salary cap pressure mounting it’s likely the Roosters will have to cut a player or two. Given the ability of the team’s youngsters to step in and make an impact, it doesn’t shape as a huge issue.
– The best of the best: This Roosters side entered history on the back of a list of ridiculously incredibly performances.
Cooper Cronk won his third straight Grand Final. James Tedesco had the season to end all seasons. Angus Chrichton ended up being an absolute weapon despite a slow start. Brett Morris turned back the clock. The Roosters’ young number nine had a miracle season. Luke Keary established himself as the best number six not named Cameron.
Throw in the game’s two best centres, an all start forward pack and a super coach and this Roosters side is arguably the best-assembled in recent memory.
Some Storm fans may argue with the above statement but the Roosters have already opened as short-priced betting favourites for a three-peat.
– Two losses to Souths: Despite winning the games that ultimately matter in the finals, Roosters fans still had to endure two losses to the old enemy.
Again, bragging rights rest with those who win the trophies but two regular-season defeats to the Bunnies still isn’t fun.
Truthfully it’s all that stopped the Tricolours from enjoying a perfect season.
– Three-game losing streak (Round 10-13): For the only time during 2019, doubt may have slipped into the Roosters’ minds.
The Broncos, Knights and Panthers, plus a bye, meant a rare winless four week period for the Roosters.
From rounds 10 to 17 the Chooks only managed two wins, over the Tigers and Dogs. Strange to look back on considering the dominance that would eventuate.
– Cooper Cronk retirement: Cooper Cronk came to the Roosters to deliver success and he did just that with two Premierships in as many seasons.
He was given the ultimate send-off with a title win in his final game and retired on top.
The multiple-time title winner’s retirement leaves the Roosters’ side looking far different moving forward given they haven’t really replaced him.
I’m probably one of young Kyle Flanagan’s biggest fans but he’s far from a ready-made first grader. Big risk.
Star Player: James Tedesco
Tedesco had arguably the best solo season since Jarryd Hayne and Ben Barba’s respective Dally M winning seasons.
He was clearly the only choice for the highest individual honour as well as best on ground across the Origin series.
The fact he scored the title-winning try was the perfect way to sum up the best player in the game’s 2019 season.
In 24 appearances in 2019 for the Roosters, he scored 18 tries, laid on 13 try assists, made 23 line breaks, averaged over 200 metres per game and recorded an incredible 166 tackle breaks.
Season Grading: A+
Although they finished six points behind minor premiers the Storm, the Roosters continued to get better at the right end of the season.
Their Grand Final win didn’t match the dominance they showed in the big games in 2019, but ultimately the result was the right one.
Cooper Cronk signs off with three straight titles, including two from two in Bondi, while James Tedesco completed his assent to becoming the game’s best player.
Brett Morris proved to be an amazing pick up while, despite a slow start, Angus Chrichton justified his huge cross-town move.
There were times during the season that the Chooks looked slightly off the pace but you just felt they’d click when push came to shove.
Fast forward to grand final day and Boyd Cordner must be running out of things to say during victory speeches.
What a season. What a club.