Boyd Cordner’s Anzac Day return in itself won’t dig Sydney Roosters out of the hole they find themselves in after seven rounds of the NRL season.
Cordner is a certain starter for the Roosters in their clash with St George Illawarra at Allianz Stadium on Monday.
The match will be the representative back-rower’s first this season after recovering from a pectoral injury.
The Roosters have struggled to 1-6 in his absence and that of Jared Waerea Hargreaves, who has a knee injury, and the suspended Mitchell Pearce.
The Tricolours’ best forward this season, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, is also sidelined with a knee injury suffered two weeks ago and the Roosters were beaten up the middle by Penrith last week.
Cordner’s return is a big boost to the Roosters in one of the most anticipated club games of the season, but he is unlikely to have a huge impact given his lack of match fitness.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson has been unimpressed that his side hasn’t been able to get the job done without their absent superstars and knows Cordner’s comeback alone won’t right the ship.
“We don’t talk about the guys that are coming back,” Robinson said.
“It is the 17 players that take the field that have to deliver (regardless).”
The Roosters sit in last place on the NRL ladder. The Dragons are in 14th on the back of a 3-4 record and a last start win over Gold Coast.
“They are in a similar position to us,” Robinson said.
“They are desperate for a win.”
The match pitches the NRL’s most impotent attacking side in the Dragons, who have notched up just 59 points, against one of the competition’s least effective defensive units.
Despite being the premier defensive unit of the last three seasons, only the Knights had conceded more points heading into round eight than the Roosters.
* The Dragons have won just one of the previous seven meetings between these two sides, but that win fell on ANZAC Day last season.
* This will be the 15th meeting between these two sides on ANZAC Day, with the Dragons winning nine of the previous 14 encounters. Six of the previous 14 matches have been decided by four points or less.
* It is no surprise then that the Dragons have the worst red zone attack of any team in the competition, averaging a try for every 25.9 tackles they have inside their opponents’ 20m line. They may have better success this week against a Roosters team which has the third worst red zone defence this season, conceding a try on average for every 9.5 tackles that opponents have inside their 20m line.
Source: Fox Sports Stats