Roosters a way off NRL top guns: Fittler - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Roosters a way off NRL top guns: Fittler

By Steve Jancetic 28/06/2008 12:04:43 PM Comments (0)

They sit atop the ladder heading into the crunch part of the NRL season but Sydney Roosters coach Brad Fittler claims his side is a long way off competing with the likes of Melbourne and Manly.

Fittler delivered the stark appraisal after watching his patched up side take down the Bulldogs 24-14 at the Sydney Football Stadium on Friday night, the Roosters doing the job without the services of their six Origin representatives and injured fullback Anthony Minichiello.

With a bye coming up next week, the worst the Roosters can be placed going into their round 18 home game against Gold Coast is in a share of first place.

A win there will all but nail down a finals berth but Fittler knows there's plenty more to do if they are to stamp themselves as genuine premiership contenders.

"We're by no way means in my eyes sitting with the top sides, we've got to build plenty from here and when sides start dishing it back to us a bit, we've got to learn to get tougher in those games," Fittler said.

"I don't think we've proven ourselves against the best sides, a couple of times when sides have stuck it to us.

"The Newcastle game where we got beat, the Saints game and the Manly game really stand out where it showed we can have (a) poor attitude. That's something we have to get out of our game.

"There's a couple of sides out there, they may get beat but very rarely do they show poor attitude - that's most probably something myself and a few of the senior players have got to talk about."

The Roosters won't have to wait until the finals to prove their mettle with a testing run home.

Of their remaining nine games, five of them are against the other five sides inside the top six, with back to back trips to Melbourne and Cronulla in round 23 and 24 shaping as their toughest hurdles.

"We've got a tough back end, we're playing all the sides around us," Fittler said.

"It's a real good test for us ... we're not going to walk away from the challenge."

Meanwhile, Steve Folkes' final games in charge of the Bulldogs look like turning into torture sessions with Jarrad Hickey (cork), Heka Nanai (concussion) and Michael Sullivan (hamstring) all joining a crowded casualty ward.

Nanai should be cleared to play South Sydney on Monday week but there are grave fears Sullivan's season could be over with the initial prognosis being that his hamstring had been ripped off the bone, with scans pending on Monday.

"Not too much is going our way, but that's football," Folkes said.

"Again it looks like we've lost another couple of players tonight so it's not getting any better.

"Eventually it gets to a point where the guys you bring in are maybe not ready for first grade.

"The Roosters got beat 42-0 a few weeks ago and they had four guys out. We've probably got a dozen out at present and lost a couple more tonight ... if you're looking for reasons why that's happening (the losses) maybe that's where you could look."

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