Cooper Cronk couldn’t inspire the Roosters to victory, but it’s not his fault.
Cooper Cronk couldn’t inspire the Roosters to victory, but it’s not his fault.

Giant flaw in multimillion-dollar gamble

THE Roosters' big name signings failed to deliver the Bondi club an opening round NRL win as the Wests Tigers upset the chooks 10-8 on the weekend - but they don't deserve to cop all the blame.

Ex-Storm halfback Cooper Cronk joined the tri-colours on a two-year deal worth a reported $2 million while former Tigers fullback Tedesco inked a four-year contract.

But the pair's combination didn't fire and they struggled to find their timing when linking up on Saturday.

Cronk was impressive in the first 40 minutes, kicking a 40/20, but was kept quiet in the second half. Tedesco struggled to make an impact and was incessantly booed by his former fans, particularly after he bombed a certain try early in the first period.

While Roosters supporters will have been disappointed by the showing and coach Trent Robinson criticised his spine's lack of fluency, as big a problem as the new look backline finding its groove is the lack of starch provided up front.

Former NRL stars Matty Johns and Brett Finch both questioned the Roosters' forward pack, saying there's no point spending millions on classy playmakers if you don't have the big men to lay a platform for them to shine.

James Tedesco had a debut to forget for the Roosters. Picture: Phil Hillyard
James Tedesco had a debut to forget for the Roosters. Picture: Phil Hillyard

"If your forwards aren't doing the job it just goes to show it doesn't matter who's playing seven and six. It was a difficult day for both players," Johns said.

Finch agreed, saying: "The performance on the weekend wasn't good enough. The performance against the Cowboys last year in the semi-finals ... their forward pack definitely got beaten and that was what was the telling factor in that game.

"You can get Tedesco, you can get as many class backs as you want but if you're not dominating through the middle third of the field (you won't have success).

"You can have Jesus playing halfback, it doesn't matter who's there."

Cronk and Tedesco found the going tough on the weekend.
Cronk and Tedesco found the going tough on the weekend.

The Roosters lost Kane Evans and Aidan Guerra from their forward stocks in the off-season before signing Frank Paul-Nu'uausala, but he didn't play against the Tigers.

Forwards Jared Warea-Hargreaves and Dylan Napa in particular were criticised for being overrun by North Queensland in last year's preliminary final.

While they have played just one match this season, if the trend continues it will cripple Cronk and Tedesco's chances of leading the club on a premiership charge.

Robinson believed his new-look spine has had enough time together for him to expect early results, but he was left wanting more from his team with ball in hand.

Dylan Napa didn’t play his best at the business end of 2017.
Dylan Napa didn’t play his best at the business end of 2017.

"I thought we tried to do what we wanted to do in attack but there wasn't enough combinations and (we had) high errors," he said.

"I would've expected more play, but you can't have both. You either have a bit more play and you're going to have some errors. But you don't have not much play and high errors.

"And that's what we had. We had good, strong running without many combinations and high errors. I think that was a big difference in our play."

Robinson refused to give his new players the latitude to ease into their attack.

Asked how long it would take for his spine to gel, he said: "Sooner rather than later. That's what we're working towards. They've had enough time together.

"But as you can see today, we didn't execute well enough, especially when we had the opportunities in the first half."


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