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Anasta at five-eighth to face Souths

10/03/2009 07:25:44 PM Comments (0)

Keeping Braith Anasta relaxed and comfortable was behind Sydney Roosters coach Brad Fittler's decision to shift the skipper back to five-eighth for Sunday's NRL grudge match against South Sydney.

Not for the first time Anasta made a pre-season move to lock, named there for all three of the club's trials, while Kiwi international Setaimata Sa and young gun Ben Jones were touted as the Roosters' pivots for 2009.

But the club's first team sheet for the new season had Anasta back in the No.6, where he regained enough form to play for NSW last year, with Sa in the No.13.

"It was always going to be Setaimata Sa," Fittler told AAP on Tuesday. "I think both positions are very similar.

"It's about the team feeling confident and comfortable and that's how we came to the decision.

"(Anasta) had a crack at playing lock, I think he just felt more comfortable at five-eighth.

"It's about everyone feeling confident, especially in those early rounds."

Anasta will come up against Souths pivot John Sutton but Fittler denied the move was designed to shut down the highly-rated Rabbitoh.

"We're just thinking about us at the moment, it's pretty important early in the year that you get your own team going," Fittler said.

"(Souths) were really impressive in the Charity Shield, their defence looked really in order.

"It's very hard to say what happens in attack in those early games, there's normally a lot of mistakes but their defence looked great so they look like they're organised."

But just how organised, Fittler isn't sure.

"I don't know what their strength is really," he said.

"I think their defence looked really good but I think our strength's our pack as well."

Meanwhile, NSW and Test forward Willie Mason was not named in the Roosters' 18-man squad as he continues to recover from knee surgery he underwent late last year.

Mason had been pushing for a comeback in round one and could yet be a shock inclusion on Sunday.

Former Golden Boot winner Anthony Minichiello, who is off-contract at the end of 2009, will begin the year at fullback after just nine appearances last year due to a chronic back injury.

"He looks great, he's worked really hard so he's got himself in a pretty good state of mind," Fittler said.

Fittler is also off-contract as he begins his second full year at the helm of the Roosters, having taken them from 10th in 2007 to the finals last year.

But he isn't claiming to be a year wiser in the role.

"I don't know, you'd have to ask other people on the outskirts," he said.

"I think everyone's worked really hard. That's the difference these days in footy.

"I think you need to work hard before you do anything else, I think that's the spin these days, I think everything else comes from the result of working hard, so we did."

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