Soward: JWH leading Roosters' charge to back-to-back titles

The Roosters' quest to break the 25-year drought for back-to-back titles got off to a flying start at the World Club Challenge, playing like they did when they won the NRL grand final more than four months ago.

Right from the opening exchanges against Wigan, they demonstrated their renowned line speed and attention to detail to control the ruck in defence to go along with their direction and discipline in attack.

The class shone through.

Jared Warea-Hagreaves led the way - it was his pressure and physicality which negated the Wigan pack and got the Roosters on the front foot.

Trent Robinson would have been happy seeing JWH laying the platform up front as he did last year in their run to the grand final victory.

The Roosters' trust and structure defending their own line frustrated Wigan's attack.

Being the first team to repeat as NRL champions since the Broncos of 1992-32 has eluded every team since because fatigue usually sets in at some stage throughout the season.

However, the Roosters looked to me like they were only halfway through their pre-season.

The fitness was there in their first hit-out of 2019 - the boys looked ripped as everyone does this time of year but some of the timing in attack looked a touch off.

The spine of Jake Friend, Cooper Cronk, Luke Keary and James Tedesco were so much smarter and well organised.

They did the little things so much better but it looked at times like a solid training run rather than a slog to the death where they would have to produce their best footy like they will in a matter of weeks.

The Roosters started the 2018 Telstra Premiership with four wins and as many losses as they figured out how to play with the structure of Cronk and find a balance of eyes-up footy that Keary, Tedesco love.

One thing that never wavered last year despite leaking some points in those opening rounds was their defence. It always looked like they believed in each other and the only time they were ever going to be split was a mistake from themselves.

To put it simply the Roosters don't beat themselves, they make you change your game plan and try things that you wouldn't normally do. This was the story of the 2019 World Club Challenge they didn't score amazing sweeping moves to tear apart the Warriors it was just pure simple hard-nosed footy.

The timing is going to come for the Roosters in their premiership defence they are too good not to get that back quickly with all that talent.

The core that they will lean on, which they did against Wigan, is their defence.

And defence wins championships.

Match: Wigan Warriors v Roosters

Round 1 -

Full Time
Wigan Warriors

Home Team

Wigan Warriors

Scored 8 points
Roosters

Away Team

Roosters

Scored 20 points

Venue: DW Stadium, Wigan

Match broadcasters:

  • Foxtel
  • GEM
  • LIVEPASS