Monday Buzz: Robbo's stirring speech after Roosters triumph
Take out Boyd Cordner, Cooper Cronk and Latrell Mitchell from last year's Sydney Roosters grand final team and you are missing a combined 642 NRL games.
That's the Australian captain, the best playmaker in the game and the most explosive game-breaking centre in the competition.
Plus you haven't played since the first weekend of October and you're up against a crack team that has been in full Super League competition mode for a month.
Yet the Sydney Roosters still got the job done in St Helens to win a record fifth World Club Challenge final 20-12. Hardly stylish but with a stack of character and commitment.
And that commitment to reaching milestones should have Parramatta fans very nervous that the Roosters are well on track to become the first team since the Eels in 1983 to win three straight premierships
As Trent Robinson said about their defence: "You've got to have good principles. Then you've got to do it with heart. And you've got to love it and work hard for each other.
"At the start of the season, when you haven't played a game, it's got to hold up because your attack is rusty. It was a dogfight but we did it."
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The Daily Telegraph was inside the Roosters' dressing sheds as Robinson addressed his players about the performance and their 10-day tour of Barcelona and Manchester. It was a stirring speech.
"I love travelling with you guys," the coach started out.
"It's not a piss-up, you guys are opening up more, you enjoy seeing different things and our lives are getting better by the experiences we're having.
"I honestly love watching you play. We haven't played a trial but you look strong and you look powerful. You didn't look perfect but they were a very good opposition.
"They (St Helens) have got some really good footy players but you guys said, 'Let's get it on'. You're physical specimens and I love the subtleties you've got with each other, even if it wasn't perfect.
"I'm really proud to coach you guys and watch you go out and play. We (coaching staff) sit there in awe. You've got big hearts. That's as big a rap that I can give you.
"Good on you for finishing off 2019. You should be really proud of yourselves. Let's put a full stop on 2019 and let's get 2020 started."
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Your columnist has been on tour with the Roosters for the past week. It is a truly great football club and the benchmark in the game.
They've had no curfews or booze bans. It's all about the culture of a team rather than individuals, professionalism and hard work.
A club where back-room staff are treated the same as Cordner and James Tedesco.
Everyone is part of it.
The Roosters' performance against St Helens shows why they are favourites to equal Parramatta's 1983 threepeat feat. There's a long way to go but they are definitely the team to beat, with no question about their passion or motivation waning.
Kyle Flanagan started strongly and had two try assists in probably a seven-out-of-10 performance.
He will improve with more time, more training and more combinations.
Luke Keary was man of the match and deserved it.
In Cordner's absence, Jake Friend led magnificently and made 49 tackles.
The front-rowers Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Siosiua Taukeiaho again showed why they are regarded as the world's best bookends.
Lindsay Collins played in the middle off the bench and added enormous strike power.
"He'll play Origin for Queensland within two years," Roosters boss Nick Politis declared.
The Roosters will arrive home Tuesday with no injuries to prepare for round one against Penrith on March 14.