Roosters pack prove their worth against Sharks
They have been singled out as not doing their jobs in previous rounds but the Sydney Roosters forward pack stood up against Cronulla on Friday night to earn the praise of coach Trent Robinson.
"They've copped it and I hear it a lot – and they hear it. And some of it is not their fault," Robinson said after the Roosters were able to restrict the Sharks to two tries.
With co-captain Boyd Cordner the outright leader on metres for both sides – 182 from 18 runs – and fellow forwards Ryan Matterson (36) and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (31) topping the tackle list, there was a lot for their coach to smile about.
"They wanted to stand up tonight and play better. After last week [30-6 loss to Warriors], that's now one week. We need to keep doing it," Robinson said.
"Possession allows those guys to run and that happened tonight," he said of the 83 percent set completion rate.
"We controlled the ball more and the first half we had more possession and created more opportunities. It's our best completion rate for the year, so it's a good result.
"I thought we had some character there in the second half, with some really good resilience in defence. We got stronger the longer it went."
Cordner's right-hand man, hooker Jake Friend, also took great satisfaction with the work ethic amongst his forwards.
"As a pack they definitely went after the game right from the start. Possession is a big thing for those boys to get their runs," he said.
"They haven't been getting through the work that they wanted to for different reasons.
"But I thought they all went after it tonight and worked really well together. It was easy to play off the back of those guys when they're setting up that kind of platform."
And play off the back of their forwards, halves Cooper Cronk and Luke Keary did. Both men featured in all five tries, mainly through clever timing and choice of kicks.
Keary's last kick for left-side winger Reece Robinson’s try in the 79th minute was class with a capital C.
"I've got both sides there [to choose from]," Friend said in relation to which playmaker he goes to.
"Coops is sort of option one and Luke was really good at getting my ear tonight and I thought he came up with some really good kicks.
"That last one was pin-point. Some good stuff there for us, and looking forward to building on it next week."
The Roosters will need their forwards and halves on-song again at Allianz Stadium on Thursday, despite the short turn-around, as it’s the old enemy in the South Sydney Rabbitohs.