Johns's confidence in Roosters halves
Jackson Hastings and Jayden Nikorima may have only played 21 NRL games between them but Roosters halves coach Andrew Johns has backed them to bounce back from their 32-point season opening shellacking from the Rabbitohs.
Johns is confident the duo have the ability to bounce back from their disappointing first hurdle.
"I have a lot of confidence in Jayden and Jackson and I think they'll be fine," Johns told NRL.com.
"There's a lot of potential there, they just have to reach it. That's the big challenge for them.
"We have done a lot of work with their kicking game and things like that this week already so they'll be ready [come the weekend]."
Johns was quick to point out that a lack of possession against the Rabbitohs dulled any impact Nikorima and Hastings were hoping to have.
The Roosters found themselves on the back foot on several occasions, with opposite half Adam Reynolds guiding the Rabbitohs to a 26-0 half-time lead.
In the end Souths produced 600 more metres thanks to their seven extra sets of ball.
"It was a tough one [for Hastings and Nikorima] because they had no ball. I mean, judge them when they have an even share of possession," Johns said.
"At one stage [the Roosters] made 100 more tackles. They could have been playing against Cessnock and it would have been tough going."
Temperatures are expected to peak at 33 degrees when the Roosters run out in Canberra this Saturday afternoon and Johns was under no illusion how tough a challenge the Raiders present.
This, despite the Raiders losing both halves Aidan Sezer (eye socket) and Blake Austin (knee) for at least five weeks – with Lachlan Croker and Sam Williams set to take control of the green machine.
"I think they're a top four team this year when they have everyone on the park. They have a huge forward pack and Sam Williams is a good young player," Johns said.
"They copped a few big injuries but they'll be still so hard to beat."