Roosters have learnt from 2008: Anasta - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Roosters have learnt from 2008: Anasta

By Ian McCullough 10/02/2009 03:55:33 PM Comments (0)

Braith Anasta says the Sydney Roosters will be a stronger, more experienced team in 2009 after fading out of NRL title contention in the second half of last year.

Brad Fittler's men looked genuine premiership contenders in 2008 but then lost five of their last seven home-and-away games before being bounced out of the finals in straight sets.

Anasta said the players were determined not to make such a timid exit this season.

"At times we looked unreal ... but we fizzled out," he said.

"Mentally we were not strong enough.

"Last year was the first thing we talked about in training, we took it very seriously.

"We have had a motto in each session and that is to finish strong and regardless of what the session is whether it be video, running, weights or whatever.

"We maybe peaked too early but even at the end we showed glimpses in the finals of that early form, but it was our second half of the season that let us down."

Anasta's fine form was one of the key factors in the Roosters return to finals football after a four-year absence and he said the imminent return of former Kangaroos fullback Anthony Minichiello was a massive boost.

Minichiello has been dogged by a serious back problem for the past four years and the complaint cruelled his 2008 campaign.

"Mini is going great, there's been no mishaps, and he's done 90 per cent of everything the rest of us have done," said Anasta.

"If you ask him he would say he is the best shape he has been in for four years."

Minichiello will not face St George Illawarra Dragons in the Roosters' opening trial game of the season in Perth with English recruit Jordan Tansey to make his debut after his surprise switch from Super League champions Leeds Rhinos.

Tansey, who can play centre or fullback, swapped Leeds for Sydney despite failing to nail a place down with the Rhinos.

Anasta was confident the 22-year-old could be a success in the NRL.

"Tansey has got better every week, he has enjoyed it and the guys have been enjoying his company," he said.

"We have only done scrimmage and oppose with him so it is hard to tell exactly where he is at, but I am confident he will do a good job from what I have seen so far."

Saturday's game in Perth will see both sides play with two referees for the first time and Anasta supported the NRL's plan to have two officials on the field.

"I think it's a good move and it will quicken the game up," he said.

"It will be good for the fans, there will hopefully be less mistakes from the referees and more confidence from the players that there are two guys there and less to miss and harder for players to get away with things."

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