You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Luke Keary and Cooper Cronk after the 2018 grand final.

Given the Roosters were minor premiers and premiers, their 2018 season stats unsurprisingly don't reveal too many glaring deficiencies – but that doesn't mean Trent Robinson's men can rest on their laurels.

One thing they probably can't count on again is the charmed run they enjoyed in terms of injuries.

The only long-term injury to a top-17 player was the pec tear that put winger Dan Tupou out for 10 weeks in the first half of the season.

Back-rower Ryan Matterson also missed five games mid-year with concussion and wrist issues while Dylan Napa missed a total of seven games in large part due to suspension.

Otherwise, all their key players played at least 23 of 27 games.

Of their spine players, Jake Friend (zero), Cooper Cronk (one) and James Tedesco (two, both due to Origin) barely missed a minute while Luke Keary (four) suffered a minor knee injury late in the regular season after also missing round one with a broken jaw.

Most clubs would kill for that sort of continuity among their key playmakers.

Back-up halves Mitch Cornish and Sean O'Sullivan played just one game each but both have now left the club while Matterson filled in for three games at five-eighth but has also now departed.

Centre Paul Momirovski has played plenty of five-eighth coming through the grades but has also now moved on.

Of the club's two 2018 back-up hookers, Kurt Baptiste has also left while Victor Radley continues to evolve into a hard-hitting No.13 rather than a useful dummy-half.

Blake Ferguson played all 27 games for the Roosters in 2018, was one of their most consistent performers and filled in at fullback for both games Tedesco was absent. He has also moved on.

What this means is that every back-up player who featured in the Roosters' spine in 2018 has now left the club (barring some bench minutes for Radley at dummy-half in the first half of the year).

Of Ferguson's replacements, wingers Brett Morris and Ryan Hall, 32-year-old Morris is at best a stop-gap custodian.

The only back-up playmaker in the top squad at this point is ex-Knights half Brock Lamb. The club has also tossed a lifeline to former Dragons and Bulldogs back-up hooker Craig Garvey.

Key Roosters duo Jake Friend and James Tedesco.
Key Roosters duo Jake Friend and James Tedesco. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

If the Roosters' best 18 or 19 players stay fit all season they have as good a chance of going back-to-back as any club in the NRL era.

However, any long term absence to Cronk or Tedesco, in particular, could be disastrous to the club's 2019 hopes.

Having said all that, there isn't necessarily an easy fix, short of picking up another player from the market.

The club needs to invest heavily in Lamb and any up-and-comers emerging through the ranks, and cross all fingers and toes their main playmakers have a similarly blessed season to last year.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners