Roosters to hold firm on trusty defence


Trent Robinson has put the emphasis back on defence with the Sydney Roosters desperate to get it right for their semi-final against Canberra.

Last week’s opening round of the finals turned into a free-wheeling points bonanza, with 235 points scored across the four games.

It marked the record for the most in the opening weeks of the finals, and puts the game on track to eclipse the mark of 443 points piled on in the 2001 post-season.

A quicker game through the set restart rules, player fatigue and a later start to the finals are all believed to be behind the trend.

Regardless, it wouldn’t have pleased Robinson that his side conceded 29 of those points.

The Roosters have been a side renowned for their defence throughout their dominance under Robinson, having been in the top three in the category for six of his first seven years at the helm.

But this year they slipped to sixth, thanks largely to the 60 points they let in against South Sydney in the final round.

And Robinson desperately wants to ensure his team do not slip into the trap of another high-scoring shootout at the SCG on Friday night.

“It was a very different week one for many years,” Robinson said.

“I can’t dictate anyone else’s performance. (But) our role is to reduce the points scored against us and we’ll focus on that.

“We’ll make sure that we’re searching for our best game this year in defence. What that means on the scoreboard is pretty clear.”

Robinson has been insistent this week not much has to change about his team’s defence.

He was happier with it against Penrith, noting that they opened their sets well before being caught out in the back end.

And after years of being so measly, there is no need for any significant structural changes.

“Principles don’t change. You keep working on those and what we stand by at the Roosters,” Robinson said.

“But then you never stop searching for improvement each week. You don’t sit on your hands and cross your fingers, you go after better each week.”

Ricky Stuart’s Raiders meanwhile are one side who will likely benefit from high-scoring football.

At least 40 points have been scored in six of the past nine clashes between the two sides, and Stuart expects similar on Friday night.

“Both teams have good ability with the football, both teams are filled with exciting players,” Stuart said.

“Rugby league supporters like watching that style with that attacking flair.

“If the weather (is good) I’m sure we will get that attacking game.”





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