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The first time was so nice, the Roosters had to do it twice.

And having become the only team to win back-to-back titles in the NRL era last year, their sights are firmly set on a historic three-peat.

It's a feat not achieved since Parramatta reigned supreme from 1981-1983. But if anyone can do it, it's the well-oiled Chooks machine.

The Roosters added another piece of silverware to their haul in February, beating Super League champions St Helens in England to claim successive World Club Challenge trophies.

The 2020 outlook

What's new

Former Shark Kyle Flanagan is the only recruit for the Roosters and will slot straight in at halfback following Cooper Cronk's retirement. Promising centre Billy Smith was touted as new Rabbitoh Latrell Mitchell's replacement until he suffered a devastating ACL injury in the pre-season. It now seems that usual second-rower Angus Crichton will be pushed out wider to fill the hole. Crichton played centre during his schoolboy rugby days and held his own there in the World Club Challenge. Prop Zane Tetevano departed for Penrith after playing a part in the 2018 and '19 triumphs.

The draw

The Roosters begin their second title defence against Penrith before tough clashes with heavyweights Manly and South Sydney. The Tricolours face a stern test heading into the playoffs – assuming they're on track to make them – with matches against six 2019 finals teams. They take on the Sea Eagles (rd 20), Eels (rd 21), Sharks (rd22), Storm (rd23), Rabbitohs (rd24) and Broncos (rd25).

The stat that gives you hope

As the saying goes, defence wins premierships – and that's abundantly clear in the Roosters' case. In their past five finals appearances, the resilient Chooks have conceded just one try in each match. Incredible.

Soward's Say: 2020 Roosters

What you need to know Fantasy wise

James Tedesco ($870k) is the best fullback in the business while Jake Friend ($612k) typically scores in the 50s but is priced as a 42-point player. Angus Crichton ($695k) can post huge scores but will need 80 minutes in the second row or at centre to get them and one of Luke Keary ($589k) or Kyle Flanagan ($533k) could take a step up after the retirement of star halfback Cooper Cronk.

The coach

Not one to dwell on past accomplishments, Trent Robinson would probably have started plotting for 2020 the moment the final hooter sounded in last year's decider against Canberra. It's one thing to reach the top, but to stay there is the mark of a true champion side – and that's exactly what Robinson has moulded. Robinson is carving a revered legacy, having led the Roosters to three titles and another three preliminary finals since taking over in 2013. There can be no disputing his legend status if the Roosters overcome the losses of Cronk and Mitchell to continue their excellence.

Contract matters

Several Roosters players remain uncontracted beyond 2020, including veterans Mitchell Aubusson, Jake Friend and Brett Morris. Fringe first-graders like Lachlan Lam, Asu Kepaoa, Matt Ikuvalu and Drew Hutchison are playing for new contracts. Enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves inked a three-year extension last November, keeping him in red, white and blue until the end of 2023. New signing Kyle Flanagan is tied down until the end of 2021.

Five key match-ups of the Roosters' 2020 draw

The burning question

The big query is whether the Tricolours can maintain or increase their motivation and lofty standards. Coach Trent Robinson ensured his troops didn't rest on their laurels last season and has already put 2019 in the rear-view mirror. Scarily for the competition, he's declared they can improve.

Breakout player to watch

Walking into arguably the most crucial position in a side searching for its third premiership in as many years would daunt many halfbacks. But if the early signs are anything to go by, Kyle Flanagan won't be fazed by the task at hand as he replaces Cooper Cronk. Five-eighth Luke Keary labelled Flanagan's World Club Challenge "outstanding" considering he's played just nine NRL games. Flanagan is poised to assume the all-important goal-kicking duties after Latrell Mitchell's move to South Sydney.

Roosters playmaker Kyle Flanagan.
Roosters playmaker Kyle Flanagan. ©Bernard Platt/NRL Photos

The quote

"That was a full-stop on 2019, we got the rewards of that, but we wanted to start 2020 in the right way as well and we did that. It wasn't perfect but it was a great start, [we] showed some really great signs about who we are as a Roosters team but also small things that we're working on." – Trent Robinson on winning the World Club Challenge

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.

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