Dreams of a rare three-peat fell away for the Roosters during the 2020 NRL finals series, with narrow defeats to the Panthers and Raiders sending them packing in straight sets.
The oldest team in the competition, the Tricolours remained one of the powerhouse clubs in the league after winning the 2018 and 2019 premierships and finished the season with the best attacking record in the league.
They'll have a new halfback pulling the strings next season after the departure of Kyle Flanagan but with a strong forward pack and an all-star back six they can be expected to be among the contenders yet again.
Home & Away record
Equally strong at their temporary home the SCG or on the road, the Roosters recovered from an 0-2 start to the season before the COVID-19-enforced break and won 14 of their final 18 matches in the regular season.
Run metres differential
Blessed with a superstar back three of James Tedesco, Brett Morris and Daniel Tupou (plus an overqualified back-up winger in Ryan Hall), the Roosters had no trouble eating up the metres from kick returns or early in sets. They also boasted one of the league's best forward packs led by Siosiua Taukeiaho (160 metres per game), and finished among the top four in terms of both making ground themselves and preventing opponents from gaining territory.
Try scoring – game time
They start strong, they finish strong. The Roosters had no real weaknesses in attack and while they were relatively quiet in the 10 minutes before half-time (scoring only seven times in that period across the season) they were pretty rampant elsewhere, particularly in the first and final quarter of games.
Tries conceded – game time
Again, fairly solid numbers here for the Tricolours, with their strongest defensive periods being in the early stages of each half. They actually conceded more tries than they scored in the 10 minutes before half-time but were dominant in all other time periods.
Tries scored/conceded from six-agains
The Roosters gave away the fourth-most repeat sets for ruck infringements in the competition, but still managed to score more tries from six-agains than they conceded. With the likes of Luke Keary pulling the strings and James Tedesco punishing tiring defenders in the middle of the field, the defending premiers were lethal when given back-to-back sets in attack.
Metres gained from offloads
The Roosters were a team that liked to chance their hand, with the fifth-most offloads in the league, and it wasn't just the big men providing the second-phase play. Three backline players ranked in the team's top-five offloaders, led by fullback James Tedesco and winger Daniel Tupou. Centre Joey Manu was also a prolific offloader, while forwards Siosiua Taukeiaho and Angus Crichton made 23 offloads apiece.
The release of Kyle Flanagan to the Bulldogs at the end of 2020 was a surprising move for the Roosters for a few reasons, not least of which being his status as the team's chief goal-kicker last year. They do have a strong back-up option in Siosiua Taukeiaho, although as a middle forward who plays around 55 minutes per game they will need a new kicker for when Taukeiaho is on the sidelines – likely to be Flangan's replacement at No.7.
The Roosters were relatively fortunate on the injury front in general, although season-ending injuries to Victor Radley and Sam Verrills in round seven took a toll on their premiership chances in the long run.
Tries & line breaks
Even as Penrith ran away with the minor premiership the Roosters remained the top-ranked attacking team with a lethal backline (including a back six voted the best in their position by fellow players) proving too hot for defences to handle.
The arrival of the six-again rule and the move to one referee meant there was more focus on the ruck and potentially less on the 10 metres – leading some to question whether defensive lines would push up just that little bit faster this year. Whether by accident or design the Roosters did just that, and were called for offside penalties more than any other club in 2020. They ranked fourth for penalties conceded overall.
2020 Form Guide
|1||Panthers||Panthers Stadium, Penrith||Lost 20-14|
|2||Sea Eagles||Leichhardt Oval, Sydney||Lost 8-9|
|3||Rabbitohs||Bankwest Stadium, Sydney||Won 28-12|
|4||Broncos||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||Won 0-59|
|5||Bulldogs||Bankwest Stadium, Sydney||Won 6-42|
|6||Eels||Bankwest Stadium, Sydney||Won 24-10|
|7||Dragons||Bankwest Stadium, Sydney||Won 26-12|
|8||Storm||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||Lost 27-25|
|9||Cowboys||Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville||Won 16-42|
|10||Raiders||Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney||Lost 20-24|
|11||Warriors||Central Coast Stadium, Central Coast||Won 10-18|
|12||Titans||Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney||Won 18-12|
|13||Dragons||WIN Stadium, Wollongong||Won 16-24|
|14||Storm||Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney||Lost 6-24|
|15||Wests Tigers||Leichhardt Oval, Sydney||Won 16-38|
|16||Broncos||Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney||Won 58-12|
|17||Raiders||GIO Stadium, Canberra||Won 6-18|
|18||Knights||Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney||Won 42-12|
|19||Sharks||Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney||Won 34-18|
|20||Rabbitohs||ANZ Stadium, Sydney||Lost 60-8|
|Finals Week 1||Panthers||Panthers Stadium, Penrith||Lost 29-28|
|Finals Week 2||Raiders||Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney||Lost 18-22|