Broncos lesson a bonus for Fittler - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Broncos lesson a bonus for Fittler

By Steve Jancetic 18/09/2008 05:19:43 PM Comments (0)

A veteran of plenty of big games as a player, Sydney Roosters coach Brad Fittler believes the lesson dished out by Brisbane will hold his young guns in good stead in on Friday night's NRL semi-final against the New Zealand Warriors.

After starting their qualifying final in a manner befitting a premiership contender, the Roosters petered out in the second half and succumbed to a Broncos juggernaut which never let up.

Fittler admitted his senior players needed to take more responsibility for ensuring the side played out the full 80-minutes, but also claimed his young stars would be better equipped to handle the step-up in quality now that they've had a taste of finals football.

But unlike last week, they'll have to do it in the unfriendly confines of a packed out Mt Smart Stadium.

"This will be as good an experience as a lot of them are ever going to have, hopefully you think they're all going to stand up to it," Fittler said following his side's final training run.

"We've played in a couple big games this year and I think in most of those games we've had a good crack, I can't see how this will vary.

"We talk about where our team's at the moment and I think we're a team that when we're going, we're as good as any team.

"I thought last week's experience was excellent, we ended up getting beat by the composure of the Lockyers, the Carrolls and those sort of players who have been doing this for a long time.

"I thought we learned a lot and I think our team's gone forward since then."

Asked if he would deliver a pre-game speech similar to the one which saw his troops come out with all guns blazing against the Broncos last week, Fittler said:

"If I do I'll just say do it for longer.

"That's the challenge and I back that they can."

Skipper Braith Anasta said he was encouraged by the way his young teammates took it to the Broncos, and that he had been heartened by the return to form of halves partner Mitchell Pearce in recent weeks.

Pearce admitted to being below par following his stunning rise to the NSW halfback spot for this year's Origin decider, but Anasta claimed the teenage star looked back to his best against the Broncos.

The Roosters got some good news with Seitamata Sa passing a fitness test on his injured hip, his inclusion likely to deny young utility Rory Kostjasyn the opportunity to become just the second player to make his top grade debut in a finals game.

"Sa will most probably start off the bench, we'll see what the game entails," Fittler said.

"The good thing with Sa is he can play in the backs and the forwards, he give us some versatility."

The reshuffle is likely to see Mitch Aubusson line-up at right centre with Amos Roberts also set to come into the side at the expense of Brent Grose.

"I'd expect Amos Roberts to play, because his wife's just had a baby and he's flown over to New Zealand," Warriors skipper Steve Price said.

"I don't think Freddy would fly him over away from his kid if he wasn't going to be playing, just to sit here and watch the game."

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