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Roosters aren't firing yet, and that should worry their opponents

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The Roosters have injuries. They have new players. Many of their stars didn’t start training until early January. They are still in third gear … and they’ve already shown they are the team to beat.

When legendary Dutch football manager Guus Hiddink came to Australia in 2005 to help the Socceroos qualify for the World Cup, he did an interview that has always stuck with me.

Mastermind: Former Socceroos coach Guus Hiddink, right, with then assistant Graham Arnold in 2006. Arnold is now in his second stint as Socceroos coach.Credit:Tim Clayton

The Socceroos were treading water and he was asked about their chances of qualifying for the tournament. He said: "Every sporting team in Australia goes 100 miles an hour. They want to be at 100 per cent for the whole game. It’s not just the Socceroos. It’s in other codes, too. You can’t do that. Good teams in Europe come in and out of the game when they need to."

In other words, when things aren’t going too well, a good team will just do what they have to do to get the job done. But when they smell blood in the water, they go for the throat. That the Roosters.

It was evident against Parramatta last weekend. The Eels were all over them. In the first half, Luke Keary kept the Roosters in the match with his long kicking game. He just controlled it. He did what he could to keep his side within striking distance.

In the second half, Eels playmaker Mitchell Moses kicked down field from 40 metres out and Roosters fullback James Tedesco caught it in the in-goal. Then the Roosters marched the set 90m. Then they kicked for the corner: Daniel Tupou batted it back to........

© Brisbane Times