Sport The Sydney Roosters are flying under the radar - and that's dangerous for the other 15 NRL clubs

05:02  18 february  2021
05:02  18 february  2021 Source:   sportingnews.com

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They are the most successful club of the 21st century - but heading into the upcoming NRL season, the Sydney Roosters are flying under the radar.

And that is a seriously dangerous proposition for the other 15 clubs who are praying for a premiership this year.

After bowing out of last year's finals series in straight sets, it felt as though people were beginning to write off the Tricolours after their back-to-back premierships.

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But with two premiership wins in a row comes enormous pressure, World Club Challenges, players getting picked for representative duty and as we eventually saw, fatigue.

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They were also hit with injuries throughout the season - Victor Radley and Sam Verrills suffered season-ending knee injuries, while the likes of Boyd Cordner, Angus Crichton and Daniel Tupou spent long stints on the sidelines.

It was all enough to derail what looked like another premiership chase; despite the saying, good things don't always come in threes.

Experts and fans are rating the likes of South Sydney, Penrith and Melbourne as the big hopes to take out the title this year. Betting markets have them all up near the top.

Canberra have also been spoken about plenty, with some big names back on deck from injury.

There has also been a wave of positive attention being paid to the Gold Coast Titans and the potential signing of Cameron Smith turning them into a premiership contender.

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Sides like the Tigers, Knights and Warriors have all recruited well, while Manly will welcome back Tom Trbojevic from an injury-riddled 2020 and welcome home prodigal son Kieran Foran.

Media attention towards sides like St George Illawarra and Brisbane has been rather negative - but it's keeping them in the headlines after a poor season.

But what about the Roosters? Outside of the Boyd Cordner concussion issues , there has been very little said about the glamour club heading into 2021.

Which is, quite frankly, baffling.

You only need to look at the quality of their roster, and you will instantly be reminded of why this side are a genuine premiership threat again this year.

Let's dive in, shall we?

James Tedesco is the best fullback, and probably the best player in rugby league today. He's an Origin standout, has won two premierships, and is a Dally M Medal winner.

There had been moments earlier in his career where he was doubted, but there are no doubts now - Daniel Tupou is the best winger in the game today. His performances for NSW last year cemented that.

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Joey Manu is a two-time premiership winner, and is among the best centres in the competition.

In the halves, they have a three-time premiership winner in Luke Keary . The man has represented state and country, won a Clive Churchill Medal and is arguably the best playmaker in the comp.

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Siosiua Taukeiaho are amazing front-rowers who have dominated opposition forward packs for years.

If you watched last year's State of Origin series, it's hard to argue against Angus Crichton being the best edge forward in rugby league. He is a freakish talent with a high workrate and has only just turned 25 - he is only going to get better.

'Like a fine wine' is a statement used at least once a game to describe Brett and Josh Morris - and it's absolutely fair. The twins are still among the best players in their respective positions, despite turning 35 later this year.

Victor Radley was emerging into one of the game's best lock-forwards before his untimely injury last year. When he is back fit and firing, he is going to prove himself once again and is destined for higher honours.

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Isaac Liu and Jake Friend have been in the Roosters system for years, have won titles together and have both played their share of representative football.

But that's not where it ends.

Lindsay Collins went from a solid first-grader with some silly errors in him, to a star at Origin level in short order last year. Sitili Tupouniua had to stand up in 2020 for the Roosters through injury, and he didn't disappoint at all.

Nat Butcher is a workhorse who is the glue in the middle of the field in defence, and continues to improve. Sam Verrills is a classy young hooker, and will provide spark from the bench if selected alongside Friend.

After getting rid of an under-performing Kyle Flanagan, the club will promote Lachlan Lam this season to partner Keary, and there is plenty to be excited about there.

Joseph Suaalii and Sam Walker are two of the most highly-sought after kids in the sport, and will be waiting in the wings if injury strikes. What an exciting prospect for the Roosters and their fans.

And how could we forget Trent Robinson? The man is one of the most astute rugby league minds in the game today, has won three titles and demands success from whoever steps foot onto the field.

While there is good reason to believe in South Sydney, Melbourne, Penrith or Canberra this year, they should be very wary of the boys from Bondi.

You can not underestimate this club for a second. Along with the Storm, they are the benchmark of the competition and have been for quite some time.

Don't sleep on the Sydney Roosters in 2021 - they are just as dangerous and will be just as hungry as ever before.

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