The season for the Roosters sits precariously on the edge of disaster. Up for the challenge, however, is James Tedesco, the Roosters’ skipper, who is palpably cognizant of the high stakes in the upcoming match against Manly at the SCG this Thursday.
“In a year fraught with challenges and set-backs,” Tedesco conceded, “we’ve experienced a number of crushing defeats largely due to us dropping our guard in the face of adversity. Despite this, we strive to maintain our confidence and faith within the lineup.”
The reality remains stark. The urgency to secure a victory has reached an all-time high for the Roosters with no room left for second chances. “It is now or never,” Tedesco emphasised. “We must win.”
It’s a steep hill to climb. Even if the Roosters were to emerge victorious in all their remaining games, their tally of premiership points would still fall short of those garnered by the resolute Penrith and Brisbane teams. The Roosters‘ last victorious feat against a top-eight side was a tightly contested 14-0 win against the Warriors back in round nine.
The pressure from these facts only fuels Tedesco. “The onus is always on us to win games, and there’s still a firm belief within the team that we can make it to the finals,” he expressed.
“Being part of the Roosters, there’s an implicit expectation of us being the premier team,” Tedesco reflected. “When we don’t live up to that, it fosters a certain pressure to perform. My role isn’t to let that pressure pervade the team, causing further setbacks. Instead, we need to approach the games with clarity of purpose and instill a collective belief in our ability to win.”
Tedesco has come under a Storm of criticism following his absence in the team’s round 20 defeat against the Storm. An outcome of coach Trent Robinson’s decision to let him rest in the wake of the Blues’ Origin III victory, it did not sit well with many.
“In times of struggle,” said Tedesco, “individuals and teams alike are often hounded with criticism. Such was the case with my absence – no one had a problem till it blew up in the media.”
Given the circumstances, the Tricolours must win every game, inclusive of their impending contest against the Rabbitohs in the regular-season finale along with banking on wins from other matches to ensure their shot at the finals.
“There’s a strident belief and faith that we must clinch every game, plain and simple,” asserted Tedesco. “Execution is the keyword here. We haven’t been consistent this year, which is tough and disappointing. Yet, we’re not giving up. Not without a fight.”