The Roosters have a concerning record up against fellow competition heavyweights and Cooper Cronk believes there’s only one way to break the trend before it becomes an issue.
The Roosters have played the Rabbitohs, Panthers and Storm on 13 occasions since 2020 and have only come on top in one of these encounters.
The overall for-and-against is even more alarming standing at 173-404, conceding 31 points on average.
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During this period the Roosters have lost 60-8 and 54-12 to their arch rivals, the Rabbitohs — who they most recently lost to last Friday night.
Cronk — who won two premierships with the Roosters — conceded that the record could become “an issue” but believes there’s no magic way to break it.
“It becomes an issue,” he said on NRL 360.
“The only way you can get through that is by doing it — that’s simply it.
“So the next time they face one of the big guns they must perform well. The Melbourne Storm have scored a lot of points against them, South Sydney have in recent times too.
“At the end of the day, (Roosters coach) Trent Robinson has got a tough football team and it’s up to the senior players to really reset the agenda and go for it.”
However, The Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield believes one of the key areas the Roosters are lacking in is exactly that — senior players and the leadership and experience they bring.
Since the Roosters’ last premiership in 2019 the club has lost a number of their key veterans which include Cronk (372 games), Jake Friend (264), Boyd Cordner (181), Brett Morris (276), Josh Morris (325) and Mitch Aubusson (306).
Between them that’s 1724 games — 522 more games than the entire Roosters starting line-up that lost 28-16 to the Rabbitohs with their total coming to 1202 games.
This experience is clear Sam Walker’s weakness in defence becoming exposed with the young half missing 19 tackles in his last three appearances.
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The Roosters have had a surprisingly inconsistent start to the season. They were stunned by the Knights in Round 1, bounced back with a clinical performance against Manly in Round 2 and then outclassed by the Rabbitohs in Round 3.
Robinson guided his squad through a calm week of preparation before the highly-anticipated Bunnies clash in a bid to not let emotions spill over — like they did last year.
But it backfired. The Rabbitohs turned up ready for battle, while the Roosters fell very short of expectations.
Despite this, Cronk still believes Robinson made the right call in simmering down the emotion.
“I think Trent Robinson has a history in getting it right in the big games… I didn’t think it was wrong here,” he said.
“I definitely would have agreed with revving a little bit lower because of what’s happened previously. What they didn’t get right was football.
“I think the mindset was absolutely right, the players just didn’t execute the football.”
On paper the Roosters should have a comfortable run over the next six weeks where they take on Cowboys, Broncos, Warriors, Dragons, Bulldogs and Titans, however the last three weeks has shown that anyone can win on their day.
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They then take on the Eels and Panthers in back-to-back weeks, before facing the Storm three weeks later.
Asked if the record against the big teams could create a ‘mental block’ of some kind, Cronk said no, “not in my experience.”
“I think you’re only one game away from being out of form and one game away from being in form,” he added.
“So essentially it comes down to the moment. They need to approach the week like they have previously.
“The difference between winning and losing is that 50 per cent of the result is in the preparation, the other 50 per cent is the performance — that’s what the key is.
“I don’t think the Roosters lose anything in preparation, I think it comes down to performance on game day.”