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No wooden spoon worries for Fitzgibbon

By Ian McCullough 02/07/2009 05:13:56 PM Comments (0)

Sydney Roosters captain Craig Fitzgibbon says his side won't need to rely on worrying about finishing the NRL season with the wooden spoon to stir them in action against St George Illawarra on Friday.

The Roosters currently sit at the bottom of the ladder but Fitzgibbon said the players and coaching staff are more focused on trying to stop their Anzac Day tormentor Jamie Soward than thinking about their current league position.

Soward scored 21 of the Dragons' points in the 29-0 win in that last encounter between the sides, and Fitzgibbon admitted he has been impressed with the displays of his former teammate this season.

"Jamie has got blistering speed. He is playing high on confidence and everyone around him is doing their job," Fitzgibbon said.

"On Anzac Day the ball seemed to bounce a bit for him ... and if you have a look at his highlights a lot of his tries come from chargedowns and kicks from play.

"So he is pretty hard to shut down, but hopefully we can limit him on Friday."

The Roosters are in danger of winning their first wooden spoon since 1966 after a horrendous season that has yielded just four wins, including last week's 19-12 victory over Cronulla, but Fitzgibbon insists the team are good enough to move up the ladder.

"We haven't mentioned that word and we are just talking about improving our performances, something we have done in recent weeks and if we keep doing that we will be fine," he said.

"It is looking pretty unlikely that we will make the eight, which is obviously where I would like us to be in my final year before going to England, but I want to go out with some optimism and stir a couple of those top teams up."

The victory over the Sharks followed encouraging performances against high-flying Gold Coast Titans and North Queensland and Fitzgibbon said the input of assistant coach Arthur Beetson has been a factor in the side's improved recent form particularly in defence.

"Arthur is a legend and an immortal of the game and earns instant respect," he said.

"Just having him around and hearing a different voice has sparked some pride in our on line defence," he said.

"On a whole our defence has been good in phases of the game.

"We kind of concede easy tries close to the line and we have paid the price, but that is something we have definitely improved on in recent games."

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