Roosters ready to compound Sharks' finals woes


Trent Robinson believes the Sydney Roosters are hitting their straps at the perfect time and will have enough firepower to pile more NRL finals misery on Cronulla.

Much has been made of the Sharks' straight-sets exit from the competition after finishing in the top two on the ladder last year.

But of even more concern for Cronulla fans is the side's dreadful record of having won only one finals match from eight since claiming the premiership in 2016.

That sole victory, a 21-20 defeat of Penrith, came five long years ago before a run of consecutive losses to Melbourne, Manly, Canberra, North Queensland and South Sydney.

The Sharks face another early exit on Saturday against a Roosters outfit riding a five-game winning streak and brimming with belief after scraping into the finals from being written off barely a month ago.

"Teams will be looking over their shoulder a bit," Roosters coach Robinson said on Friday of his team's burst of form.

"But the only way they can look over their shoulder is if we continue to win.

"We've worked our way into a position where, while a lot of teams are trying to hold on to their game, we're trying to continue to develop our game.

"We've done that over the last six weeks with slight shifts in personnel and players coming back in.

"We're pretty clear on our style and now it's just about really nailing it tomorrow night.

"We don't need to change. We just need to keep bearing down on what we're doing."

Despite the Sharks entering the do-or-die final as underdogs, Craig Fitzgibbon's side have also found some form after a late-season slump, winning four of their past five matches to earn home-ground advantage at PointsBet Stadium.

Robinson was coy when asked if he felt the Sharks were one of the teams he felt were "trying to hold on to their game".

"They've proven their worth by being in there and getting their home final," the triple premiership-winning mentor said.

"For us it hasn't been as much about the opposition. We've got to be clear about the opposition, but it's been the mindset that we're attacking the game."

In a huge boost to the Roosters, Robinson declared superstar centre Joey Manu a certain starter after recovering from a hamstring injury.

The reigning world player of the year only needed to complete the final captain's run to prove he was ready take on the Sharks and was confirmed in the starting side on Friday night.

"He should be right to go," said Robinson, who is placing is long-time friendship with Fitzgibbon on hold until after fulltime.

Robinson won all three of his grand finals at the Roosters with Fitzgibbon as an assistant before the Tricolours and St George Illawarra great accepted the head coach role at Cronulla last year.

"We're great mates and we don't need to speak this week to be great mates," Robinson said.

"That personal bits on hold. We've got a job to do.

"We know we're in this. The reason we're standing here is because we work for our clubs and that's our job this week.

"Our friendship will last forever. But this week it's business as usual when it comes to finals."