The Roosters timed their run to perfection in 2018, winning enough games to stay on track during the feeling-out period early on before ramping up to nab the minor premiership, push through the finals and eventually explode in the season decider.
As tends to be the case more often than not, the premiers were one of the defensive benchmarks right through the season, with Trent Robinson's men eventually finishing with the fewest points conceded per game of any club.
Only the Storm got anywhere close in the regular season (only two points in defence and eight points in total differential separated them after 25 rounds) but no-one got close through the finals series.
Their overhauled playmaking combination took a while to get going but once it did, it was near unstoppable. James Tedesco and Luke Keary each enjoyed arguably the best seasons of their careers, Cooper Cronk was, well, Cooper Cronk and Jake Friend transformed from ordinary to world-beater through the middle of the season.
The club boasted the two form centres of the competition as well as two of the form wingers and their pack was as good as any going around.
Roosters: 2018 by the numbers
Home & Away record
Home record: 8-4. Away record 8-4.
While the Roosters sealed the minor premiership in the final round of the regular season, they didn't quite manage the best home record (the Bunnies and Dragons each won nine at home) but they shared the best away record with the Storm, Sharks and Warriors. That they were as hard to beat away as they were at home is a mark of the consistency they achieved in 2018.
Leading try scorers
The Roosters scored plenty of tries and they were fairly well spread around. Blake Ferguson (17) was top but still well behind league leader David Fusitu'a (22) while Latrell Mitchell's breakout season saw him bag 15. The rest of the outside backs got in the action with James Tedesco (nine) and Joseph Manu (six) next best.
The Tricolours boasted the two most effective backs in this category with Blake Ferguson (69.6m per game) trailing only mid-field wrecking balls Jason Taumalolo (75.8) and David Klemmer (75.0) among all players. Teammate Dan Tupou was next behind Ferguson in fourth (61.0) while Siosiua Taukeiaho (54.4) was the next best Rooster.
Try scoring – attacking channels
The Roosters tallied more tries on the wings than almost any club, with 24 on the left (their most productive channel) and 23 more on the right. The centre-right channel was quietest with nine.
Tries conceded – defending channels
The Roosters conceded just 54 tries through the 2018 regular season – six fewer than the Storm, who were next best. As such all of their defensive channels look pretty tidy, with the centre left (13) the most expensive. They conceded just 21 tries in total (11 right, 10 left) on the two flanks.
Tries conceded from penalties
The Roosters' 23 tries conceded from penalties is fewer than any side other than the Dragons and Storm (both 21). Their 198 total penalties conceded is mid-table, with eight clubs conceding more. Their 10 sin bins however is more than any club except the Panthers (13) and Eels (11) and on average they were 1.4 points worse off per sin bin period.
Metres gained from offloads
Offloading was not a key component of the Roosters' kit-bag in 2018; their 46.9 metres per game gained by offloading was the third-lowest tally of any club. Fullback James Tedesco was the club's most profitable player both as the offload receiver (235 metres run for the season) and thrower (168 metres produced).
The Roosters were mid-table for goal-kicking with 79.2% ranking them seventh-best, well behind the Bulldogs (86.5%) but well ahead of Newcastle (69.8%). They scored plenty of tries though, meaning their 95 goals successfully kicked was third-best in the NRL. Main kicker Latrell Mitchell kicked at 79% while Blake Ferguson slotted six goals from seven shots and Siosiua Taukeiaho five from seven.
Given the Roosters' dominant 2018 it may come as a bit of surprise to learn they were the most error-prone team in the NRL. Their 276 errors was ahead of the Titans (263) and Cowboys (255), though the next four teams for most errors were all other top-eight teams and interesting the top-four average errors of 10.6 per game was higher than the overall NRL average (10.0). A glimpse at the Roosters' error-makers – James Tedesco (32), Blake Ferguson (31), Luke Keary (24) and Latrell Mitchell (23) shows they are all playmakers or attacking backs. This suggests plenty of their errors often come in pursuit of a try.
Roosters lead the metres in three positions
The Roosters were the most prolific ball-runners in three of the 13 starting positions – fullback, right wing and left second row. The Rabbitohs (hooker and right side second row) were the only other club to lead in more than one position. The Roosters' dominance came from James Tedesco (4195 metres at 191 per game), Blake Ferguson (4862m at 203) and Boyd Cordner (2462 at 123). Left-side second row also produced metres for the Roosters in the games Cordner missed, with Ryan Matterson producing plenty of metres there early in the second and with Victor Radley and Mitch Aubusson also chipping in.