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If Trent Robinson owned a crystal ball that revealed all the hurdles his Roosters would be forced to jump in 2021, he may never have made it back up off the floor after peering into pre-season.

Robinson's Roosters went through a rollercoaster year like no other in a season where many predicted they would challenge for the title they had lost in 2020 after back-to-back glory in 2018-19.

Things started positively - two big wins over the Sea Eagles and Wests Tigers - before tragedy struck in round three against South Sydney.

Luke Keary's season-ending ACL injury started the run of bad luck that came the Tricolours' way with injuries the hot topic of the season.

Premiership-winning co-captains Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend both retired due to ongoing concussion concerns and winger Brett Morris' heartbreaking ACL injury in Newcastle in round eight shook everyone in the rugby league community.

Origin prop Lindsay Collins suffered a season-ending knee injury on the same night as Morris, leaving Robinson with no choice but to start blooding his youngsters.

The NRL debuts of promising teenagers Sam Walker and Joseph Suaalii generated plenty of hype, with Walker producing plenty of magic moments to keep the Roosters fans optimistic for the season.

James Tedesco finished the year with plenty of accolades while Joey Manu was another who stood tall before a fractured cheekbone ended his season just before the finals.

For all the pain endured in 2021, one thing is for sure, Robinson's men will use the year of resilience to pick themselves back up and start a new era next season.

Regular season win/loss record

The Roosters were consistent throughout the year, dropping two games in a row just once (against Penrith and Melbourne in round 15-16) while stringing together wins on a regular basis.

Apart from an upset loss to the Broncos in round 11, their other defeats came from top-four sides.

Their most disappointing defeats came on the back of uncharacteristically poor defensive efforts against the Storm (46-0), Rabbitohs (54-12) and Sea Eagles 42-6 which brought the curtain down on their season.

Run metres differential

The Roosters produced a solid foundation for yardage in 2021 to finish one of seven clubs with a positive differential on average per game.

They ranked ninth for metres gained overall but dipped in conceding metres to rank 11th.

Daniel Tupou (4,276 metres) and James Tedesco (3,685 metres) were the side's best in total while Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (3,059 metres) provided the grunt in the middle with his tough carries throughout the year.

Try scoring - game time

The Tricolours recorded interesting results across their 80-minute try-scoring splits after crossing for 122 in the regular season.

They weren't the best of starters but came home with a wet sail in the final 20 minutes of games to score 37 tries, their best period and dominant in the competition.

Daniel Tupou finished the year as the club's leading try scorer with 15, which included a try in the finals.

Matt Ikuvalu (14) and back-rower Sitili Tupouniua (12) also found the line regularly while veteran winger Brett Morris crossed 11 times in his final season to take his career tally to a staggering 176 tries.

Tries conceded - game time

The Roosters were equally good at defending their line in the final 20 minutes of games as they were in scoring tries.

Their first halves of games were where teams got to them first, conceding 51 in the opening 40 minutes compared to 43 in the second.

Tries scored from six-again

The Roosters took advantage of repeat sets from six-again calls in their favour to score 21 (4th best in competition) while only conceding 10 (ranked 4th best defensively) in return.

Metres gained from offloads

After ranking second for offloads in 2020 the boys from Bondi found things much tougher in 2021 and slumped to equal 10th alongside Newcastle. 

Part of the issue involved their error count for the season (ranked 16th) with offload turnovers also the worst in the competition with 23.

Joseph Manu and Daniel Tupou were joint leaders with 28 offloads each - Tupou generating 294 additional metres for his side with Manu next best on 227.

Angus Crichton was the most prolific offloader for the forwards but could only generate 80 metres in total with his second phase.

Defensively the Roosters conceded 228 offloads for the year at an average of 71.8 metres per game.

Goal-kicking accuracy 

The club's overall success rate of 63.5% was the worst in the competition but miraculously didn't affect things too much when it came to games lost.

Siosuia Taukeiaho was the best performer with his 78.6% strike rate, well above the side's average, but he struggled with injuries and form throughout the year.

Adam Keighran (72.9%), Sam Walker (53.5%) and James Tedesco (38.5%) all took shots at goal throughout the year with Keighran proving handy with the boot. His clutch penalty shot in the final minute against the Broncos in round 21 secured a crucial 21-20 win.

Players used

The Roosters used the fifth most amount of players in 2021 with 34 across the season, averaging 86.6 games of experience per player.

However, injuries and retirements to key players meant nine players made their NRL debuts, including the stunning rookie season of Sam Walker, who looks a rep star of the future.

The Tricolours finished with just 58.8% of their squad playing in 11 games or more, the fourth-lowest in the competition.

Their average squad age of 26.1 is expected to plummet in 2022 given the retirements of the Morris brothers, Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend.

Discipline woes

The Roosters struggled with discipline in 2021 to rank low in negative play areas like errors and penalties.

They were also the most sin-binned side in the competition in an area that will need to be rectified by Trent Robinson in the off-season.

It's not new for the Roosters to rank poorly for errors and penalties (they won competitions in 2018-2019 with similiar numbers) but in the past they were able to defend their discipline while also finding points.

Captain's knock

James Tedesco was a shining light in his first full season as Roosters captain to remind everyone why he's one of, if not, the best fullback in the game.

His NSW teammate Tom Trbojevic produced a stellar year at the Sea Eagles but Tedesco's numbers went through the roof again in 2021, at times almost single-handedly leading the Roosters to victory.

His leadership also grew with the 28-year-old named Dally M captain of the year after guiding the Roosters through a challenging season, and the Blues to State of Origin glory.

Tedesco finished with competitive numbers against other gun fullbacks in the game.

He was second behind Trbojevic for try-assists and second behind Parramatta's Clint Gutherson for yardage.

He finished first for tackle-breaks by a fullback and second overall in the competition.


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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