Roosters ready to throw spanner in the works

Departing back-rower Craig Fitzgibbon isn’t one to worry about events that are out of his control, but even the veteran forward insists incoming coach Brian Smith can only be impressed by the efforts of his Roosters team-mates over the past few weeks.<br><br>The last-placed Roosters sprung a major upset last Saturday night when they downed Smith’s current side Newcastle 30-18 – their first win in a month and only their fifth of the season.<br><br>Fitzgibbon told NRL.com that it has been a difficult time for the club since news of coach Brad Fittler’s sacking emerged last month but said the manner in which his team-mates had overcome the off-field adversity bode well for the future.<br><br>“It’s not ideal because everyone is involved, but you don’t get a choice do you?” Fitzgibbon said ahead of Sunday’s clash with in-form Wests Tigers.<br><br>“We don’t make the decisions so you’ve just got to go about your business, but credit to the guys – that’s exactly what they’ve done.<br><br>“Nobody ever put the cue in the rack. We know it’s been a difficult year and we’ve had a lot of injuries.<br><br>“A lot of things have been out of our control but we’ve still turned up each week and the attitude has been good.<br><br>“I wasn’t surprised that we won last week.<br><br>“We’ve been playing some pretty good footy so it kind of felt like we were due.”<br><br>The Roosters may be out of finals contention but Fitzgibbon insisted the side still had plenty of motivation to perform before the season was done – not the least of which was individual players convincing Smith that they have a lot more to offer in 2010.<br><br>“We’d like to be nuisance value too,” he said.<br><br>“The main thing though is setting up next year for the guys that are going to be here.<br><br>“There isn’t much joy around at the bottom of the ladder but it’s important for the guys to make some tracks for the future of the club.<br><br>“If they can finish the year smiling at least it might set things up nicely for next year.”<br><br>While the Roosters secured a rare win last week, they face a much tougher task this Sunday against a Wests Tigers side that has finally found its mojo.<br><br>Three wins in a row has seen the Tigers roar back into finals calculations but Fitzgibbon said the Roosters were confident of ending their top eight aspirations.<br><br>“It’s all about being competitive,” he said.<br><br>“To beat the Tigers you can’t afford to lapse in that area because if you do they can put points on very quickly.<br><br>“They are a team you can’t be tentative against because they have so many variations in attack, but we’ll try and stir them up a bit so that they can’t get into any rhythm and execute their plays.”<br><br>While the Tigers have finally stumbled across a promising halves pairing with Tim Moltzen moving to no.7, the Roosters sprung their own surprise this week with veteran fullback Anthony Minichiello set to play at five-eighth.<br><br>“It’s a spin-out isn’t it?” Fitzgibbon offered.<br><br>“But we’ll see what happens – if everyone does their job it shouldn’t be too much of a drama.<br><br>“If we don’t look after him and do out job around him it’s going to be hard.”<br><br><b>Late news:</b><br><br>•&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Tigers centre Chris Lawrence is in doubt for Sunday’s clash with the Sydney Roosters with a quad strain;<br>•&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Brisbane’s bid to reverse a dramatic form slump has been boosted by the likely return of Peter Wallace, Sam Thaiday and Nick Kenny from injury on Monday night; and<br>•&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Rookie winger Donald Malone has been called into the North Queensland squad to make his debut against Melbourne tonight after Michael Bani pulled out with back problems.<br>