Robinson backs Roosters’ big guns to fire

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson has told his star-studded squad to use all of their big-game experience to secure the NRL minor premiership with victory over bitter rivals South Sydney on Friday.


In what will be the biggest non-finals match for years the ANZ Stadium encounter is to be a winner takes all affair – but Robinson knows there’s far more at stake than just lifting the JJ Giltinan Shield and pocketing $100,000.

It will be the first time since 1968 the two foundation clubs will face off for the minor premiership and local pride in addition to the perfect boost leading into the finals is very much at the forefront of Robinson’s mind.

“You want to be the best team in the competition, but sadly the way our game has gone we’ve moved away from the traditional models of sporting competitions where first past the post wins,” Robinson said.

“It is decided on one day in October and that’s our focus. We want to win games, and if that means we’ve won more games than others then good.

“But it’s not just about that. There are games coming up that will be just as important as this one.”

However, the 35-year-old is fully aware of the importance of this game to everyone connected to both clubs.

“The rivalry with Souths has been around for a long time,” he said.

“I came here in 1995 as a player as a young guy of 17 and I felt it right back then – as soon as you walk into the place.

“You hear it from ex-players from Souths and the Roosters, we live next door to each other.

“Our fans live next door to each other. There’s a big rivalry there and a respect.

“But you know playing Souths that it’s an important game for our club when it comes around twice a year and we want to win.”

The Roosters will take to the field with 11 of their 17-man squad having played in a grand final compared to just Jeff Lima, Roy Asotasi and Greg Inglis in the Souths side.

And although Sonny Bill Williams and Anthony Minichiello are the only players to have a premiership rings in his team, Robinson believes knowing what it takes to win finals games is priceless.

“The importance of big-game experience is vital to players and we will need to use some of that tomorrow,” Robinson said.

“There will be a lot of pressure on us. We’re going to an away ground with the Souths fans and that will be hard for some players.

“Any guys who have played big games will need to bring that with them.”

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