A lot of words have been used to describe the Sydney Roosters’ fall from grace, but exciting is a new one.
That’s how coach Trent Robinson says he’s finding the challenge of digging his side out of their predicament after their worst start – 0-5 – to an NRL season in 50 years.
Robinson finds himself in uncharted territory having presided over a period of sustained success since taking over in 2013 in his first stint as an NRL head coach.
While he’s careful to avoid phrases like “must-win”, he doesn’t hide from the magnitude of Friday’s clash with local rivals South Sydney at ANZ Stadium.
When he took the reins from Brian Smith, the Roosters had finished 13th the year before however he quickly transformed the club into a powerhouse, winning a title and three straight minor premierships.
Up until the end of last season Robinson had the all-time best winning percentage of any coach with over 50 games experience.
But now, Robinson finds himself back at square one, having to rebuild following the loss of Michael Jennings, James Maloney and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, with those efforts hampered by the absence of key players Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (injury) and Mitchell Pearce (suspension).
“People have seen me the last three years and before that I had my challenges that set you up for these types of times in your coaching career,” Robinson said.
“It’s exciting, as well. You want to win games but you want to build the best out of your players. That’s where we’re at at the moment.”
Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds is an outside chance to return from a broken jaw while Michael Maguire’s side grew an inch taller with Sam Burgess back in the line up in their 16-12 win over Manly last week.
The Roosters must not only dust themselves off after their golden point loss to the Warriors last week, but try to set aside memories of the 42-10 hiding handed to them by the Bunnies in their season opener.
Asked how hard it had been to lift to troops from the canvas, Robinson said: “It hasn’t been hard actually. It’s been good. There’s different ways to take it and we’re a fairly tight bunch of guys.”
STATS THAT MATTER
* South Sydney has been the best first-half team this season, scoring 72 points, whilst the Roosters have conceded the equal most (78) in this period.
* Three of the Roosters’ five losses this season have been by 4 points or less.
* The Roosters have conceded an equal league-high 28 tries this season along with the Knights.
Source: Fox Sports Stats