Tony Durkin: Second-year blues not getting to top Rooster
ROOSTERS coach Trent Robinson was justly applauded last year for his rookie NRL season.
A minor premiership, grand final victory and then the World Club Challenge in his first season as head coach is an irrefutable definition of success.
Robinson is cut from the same cloth as many modern-day coaches. His playing career may have been modest, but he has that unique ability to impart his knowledge to players, many of whom are superstars.
And he does it with zilch fanfare.
But if the press conference following Monday night's lacklustre win over the Titans is a yardstick, his greatest quality may well be remaining calm under pressure. Or, at least, giving that impression.
The Roosters were terrible on Monday night.
Admittedly the game was played in slippery conditions before a pitiful crowd of less than 7000, but four weeks out from the finals much more was anticipated from the premiers.
The stats told one story, Robinson articulated another. Against an out-of-sorts Titans the Roosters completed just 25 of 40 sets, missed 25 tackles and made 16 errors.
Even more telling was that this champion side made just five line breaks and produced a meagre three offloads.
But Robinson was upbeat - at least publicly. He even grinned when he called it a 'good old-fashioned footy game' with 'some broken play, loose balls and errors'.
Others - me included - thought the Roosters, were, in fact, lucky to win.
Like most NRL fans I have been waiting all season for the Roosters to reproduce that magical form of 2013, but apart from a 56-4 win over the Eels in round three and a 32-12 whipping of the Storm (round 13), the magic has been absent.
Last year they finished on 40 premiership points - this time it could be as low as 30.
Robinson says he is comfortable with where the Roosters are right now and reckons the team is close to its best, which will be needed for their tough run home.
After the Tigers this weekend the Roosters face the Warriors in Auckland, followed by the Storm and then the Rabbitohs.
And on Monday's form they are no certainty to make the top four, let alone win the comp.
Yes, yes, yes
THE jubilation of the Newcastle players after Kurt Gidley landed his sideline conversion for the most dramatic win of the season was without doubt the highlight of a forgettable year for the Knights, their coach and their courageous captain.
No, no, no
HE may be a grub and his performance last Friday night deserved the suspension he was dealt. But Channel 9 was wrong to show the footage of Bulldogs halfback Josh Reynolds kicking a dressing room chair. Surely the players deserve some privacy.