Warriors storm home to down Roosters - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warriors storm home to down Roosters

By Steve Jancetic 19/07/2009 06:32:51 PM Comments (0)

Sydney Roosters skipper Craig Fitzgibbon admits the players have to take some of the blame for coach Brad Fittler's demise after the tri-colours lost 34-20 to the Warriors in familiar fashion at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Just a day after the club's decision to replace Fittler with Newcastle mentor Brian Smith in 2010 was leaked to the public, the Roosters again produced the sort of performance which ultimately led to one of the club's favourite sons being shown the door.

Twice the Roosters led and twice they threw their advantage away - the early emotion of Fittler's axing overrun in a sea of missed tackles and poor options as the Roosters remained rooted to the bottom of the ladder.

"There's an element of shame involved where as players you wish everyone had done more and the club didn't feel they had to take action," Fitzgibbon said.

"We just wish everything was still going like it was."

"Like it was" refers to last year's run to the second week of the finals, when it seemed things were only going to get better for a club which managed to keep most of its key personnel for the 2009 campaign.

But as Fittler admitted something just wasn't right at the club, the ease with which the Warriors got themselves back into the match evidence of a team who had lost their mojo.

"As a group we all take responsibility for where we are," Fittler said.

"As a group we all get on well and we just lost it somewhere - in the space of two years that I've been here we've gone from last to first to last.

"At stages we had it and we just seemed to have lost it."

Two early tries to Willie Mason and Ben Jones gave hope that maybe the side had rediscovered 'it', but when Simon Mannering somehow swivelled through three defenders and debutant Isaac John found an unmarked Patrick Ah Van out wide, the signs weren't so good.

Rookie red head Tom Symonds had managed to put away Mitchell Pearce for a try in between the Warriors four-pointers, but the home side were flattered by an 18-10 halftime advantage.

Twice after the break Manu Vatuvei scored despite the attention of three defenders, yet even when Symonds scored to put the Roosters back in front there was a sense that disappointment was to follow.

And it did when Wade McKinnon picked up a Pearce grubber before running 90 metres to put the Warriors up for good.

The win left the Warriors five points out of the top eight, but they would need to win all of their remaining seven matches to be assured of a finals berth.

Asked if he was still thinking finals, Warriors coach Ivan Cleary said: "It's in there somewhere but we're not really worrying about that to be honest.

"We've just got to take one step at a time and today was great to get a win."

Cleary admitted he was wary of what impact news of Fittler's demise would have on the Roosters players.

"Some players will react differently to others ... it was definitely a bit of a mystery coming here today as to how they would react and they certainly started the game pretty well."

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