Roosters ready to rest top players - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Roosters ready to rest top players

By David Beniuk 10/07/2008 03:23:46 PM Comments (0)

The Sydney Roosters say they have put themselves in a position be able to rest players as they head towards an almost-certain spot in the NRL finals.

New Zealand international Sia Soliola has been left out of Friday night's match against the injury-ravaged Gold Coast, and Roosters coach Brad Fittler said on Thursday his centre could be joined by others in the run home.

"There's some blokes who are carrying injuries and if you can win games it allows you to hold blokes back that are carrying injuries," Fittler said.

"The team have put themselves in a position where hopefully we can rest some players and be smarter with their bodies.

"Whether you call it resting or you call it being out injured, basically they knock themselves about in our game.

"Given that we've put ourselves in a good enough position, it means that we don't have to put a stack of pressure on every single player to aim up every single week."

The Roosters sit equal top of the NRL ladder with Manly and Cronulla, virtually guaranteeing them a place in the finals.

They will have five of their six State of Origin representatives back on deck on Friday night, but Fittler said they weren't necessarily the players most in need of a break.

"They talk about the mental side of it, that's the thing the players are getting better at," he said.

"It's mainly body-wise."

Fittler said he had not over-emphasised the returns of Braith Anasta, Mitchell Pearce, Craig Fitzgibbon, Anthony Tupou and Willie Mason for the Sydney Football Stadium clash.

"I think sometimes when you comment on those things you're asking for trouble, so basically we're just asking for the same input into training and the same input into the weekend," he said.

Pearce returns with his confidence intact after being part of NSW's series loss in his Origin debut.

"It was a good experience, (I was) disappointed at the time that we lost but I'm over it now and looking forward to this," he said.

"I was pretty happy with my game to be honest, overall."

The Titans, who have lost five of their past six games, will go into the game as rank outsiders with co-captains Scott Prince (arm) and Luke Bailey (foot) watching from the sidelines along with Ashley Harrison (ribs), Mark Minichiello (ankle), Brett Delaney (groin), Luke O'Dwyer (shoulder), Brenton Bowen (cheekbone) and Aaron Cannings (leg).

Josh Graham and Gavin Cooper will form a makeshift centres pairing, while former Test forward Brad Meyers still can't force his way into the side despite the injury crisis.

Fittler said last year's 22-18 loss to the Titans, which ended the Roosters' finals chances, was still fresh in his mind.

"In every game they've played without all their stars they haven't given up once and they've always put on a performance full of pride," he said.

Meanwhile, Fittler said the Roosters were close to re-signing skipper Craig Fitzgibbon.

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