Sydney Roosters 2024 season preview

Sydney Roosters 2024 season preview

2023 recap

The Roosters found it tough going in 2023, but a late surge saw them into the finals where they made it to week two before an agonising loss to the Storm. The Chooks went into the campaign as many people’s Premiership favourites, but with as little as two months of the season to go they found themselves down in 14th. They weren’t helped by off-field distractions like Joseph Sua’ali’i’s imminent defection to rugby union, while on the pitch, Sam Walker found himself dropped to reserve grade after just seven rounds. Still, the Roosters rallied, and they ended the regular season with five straight wins to squeeze into 7th on the ladder, while Walker kicked the winning field goal in week one of the finals against the Sharks before that bitter loss to Melbourne.

2023 position: 7th

Key signings

Spencer Leniu (Penrith Panthers), Lewis Murphy (Wakefield Trinity), Alex Young (Newcastle Thunder), Dominic Young (Newcastle Knights), Ethan Roberts, Blake Steep, Xavier Va’a,

Key departures

Corey Allan (St George Illawarra Dragons), Fletcher Baker (Brisbane Broncos), Nathan Brown (Manly Sea Eagles), Thomas Deakin (Huddersfield Giants), Elie El-Zakhem (Castleford Tigers), Drew Hutchison (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Vuate Karawalevu (released), Paul Momirovski (Leeds Rhinos), Jaxson Paulo (Manly Sea Eagles), Jake Turpin (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)

Players to watch

Dom Young has arrived in Bondi with a reputation as one of the NRL’s best wingers, so there’s big pressure on him to deliver tries by the bucketload in 2024. Still, he should be fine on that front. Last year, he broke the Knights’ record for tries scored in a season, and in his three years there, he totalled 43 in 51 games.

2024 feels like a big year for Sam Walker. The halfback is still only 21 and already has more than 50 NRL games under his belt, but after bursting onto the scene in 2021 and cementing the number 7 jersey in 2022, last year was the first real setback of his career as he was dropped for several rounds and then injured. Still, he finished the year strong, but if he finds himself out of the side again this year, then it could raise some question marks over his long-term future at the club.

Young gun

The signing of Lewis Murphy has largely gone under the radar, but the 21-year-old Englishman arrives with a fine strike rate from his time in Super League. In his 22 games for Wakefield, the winger bagged 17 tries, and although he’ll probably have to bide his time for an opportunity, he’ll be determined to showcase his first grade experience if given the chance, and prove he’s not gone Down Under for a holiday.

Our prediction – 3rd

I’ll admit that last year I tipped the Roosters to be Premiers, so I may be wildly out with my prediction again this year, but I just have a feeling they’ll bounce back strongly. In Dom Young and Spencer Leniu, they’ve signed two quality established NRL players, while plenty of the current roster will be looking to improve on underwhelming seasons in 2023, and even if 3rd is a stretch, I’d be astonished if this squad doesn’t comfortably make the top eight.

Darren Notley

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