Why Roosters success in 2018 should be a given
TAKE a team that finished the regular season in second place on the ladder, add the game's best halfback and a top five fullback, what do you get? The red hot favourites to take the 2018 flag.
Throw in one of the hottest young players in the game in Latrell Mitchell - he's the next Greg Inglis don't you know - a sweet season draw and the greatest most rugby league savvy fan base in the game and you have a recipe for success.
Here are five reasons to get excited about the Roosters in 2018, as written by a Tricolours tragic.
I'll make no bones about it, I'm a fan of Mitchell Pearce and was not a fan of the Roosters ditching Mitch to chase Cronk.
He's old, I said; his loyalty is to 'The Big Three' and the Storm and the Maroons; he just wants a final pay cheque while enjoying life in a real city.
Sure, at his best he's an upgrade on Pearce - and that's no slight on Pearce as Cronk's best is an upgrade on every player in the game. But what guarantee do we have we'll see the best? Because you know, he's old, loyalty, pay cheque. Etc etc
But that was then, and this is now.
Now, Cronk's my boy. He's the ultimate professional, he's motivated by a new challenge and he's going to lead the Roosters to the grand final and then guide the team to victory in the big game.
Great signing I say. Huge fan. Mitch who?
153, no that's not the cubic capacity of James Tedesco's shorts as they struggle to contain his bulging buttocks, that's the number of tackle busts the man with the finest hind quarters since Carbine produced last year.
Those 153 tackle busts came from 307 effective runs and created 14 line breaks and 16 line break assists. All that alongside, and I mean no disrespect to the Wests Tigers, a backline that doesn't hold a candle to the one Tedesco will be a part of in 2018.
With Cooper 'My Man' Cronk guiding the show, Luke Keary knowing his role, Blake Ferguson busting holes and Latrell Mitchell growing into his substantial frame, there will be no shortage of inside creativity or outside finishing ability for Tedesco to work with at the Roosters.
Speaking of Latrell Mitchell, this year looms as a big one for the kid from Taree.
Already a star on the rise in 2017, Mitchell made headlines with his vicious fend on Jimmy 'The Jet' Roberts rolling through would be Broncos defenders to win the qualifying final and put the Roosters into the preliminary final.
There were more headlines from that game, all of them for the wrong reason with Mitchell conceding two penalties after kicking the ball dead and then obstructing a defender and costing his side a try as the Roosters were beaten by the Cowboys.
And that in a nutshell is Latrell Mitchell to date - brilliant, erratic, intoxicating and frustrating - often all in one play.
Mitchell is a man child, a hulking youngster just twenty years old but with 47 games of first grade experience already under his belt. This is the year I expect him to capitalise on his talent.
With Cooper Cronk dropping pin point passes on his chest and kicks on his head he will feast on opposition defences and is my tip to score the most tries in 2018 - I just hope he's been off the pies in the off-season.
Draw delivers for Roosters
The Roosters play the Storm and Cowboys just once next year, and both those games are at Fortress Allianz.
They meet last year's bottom six of Canterbury, South Sydney, Warriors, Wests Tigers, Gold Coast and Newcastle twice - including four of them in the first four rounds.
And they are one of three teams not to have to deal with a five-day turnaround throughout the season, nor do they leave Sydney until round 10.
How sweet is that?
The greatest fan base in the NRL
Latte lovers, chardonnay champions call us what you will, we don't care.
The Roosters posted the highest average attendance among Sydney based clubs in 2017.
And to pre-empt the inevitable sledge that the fans who show up aren't real rugby league fans I say come and sit in the chook pen some time.
We're a broad church with 26 per cent of members calling the eastern suburbs home, 18 per cent from the west and 12 per cent from league heartland the Central Coast.
There's the bloke who bangs his drum yelling out random stuff none of us can understand, Bill a man missing as many teeth as the proudest Penriff fan and Mary a woman who swears like a sailor as her kids cheer her on.
League fans one and all.
Don't hate us because we're good, hate us because we're going to win in 2018 - and then sign the star player who leaves your club and still fit under the salary cap. Here's looking at you Rabbitohs fans.