Roosters trio may take time: Smith - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Roosters trio may take time: Smith

By Steve Jancetic 13/03/2010 04:29:53 PM Comments (0)

It's the holy trinity designed to take the Sydney Roosters back to the NRL finals, but coach Brian Smith has warned fans against expecting miracles from his experimental formation in Sunday's season-opener against South Sydney.

Smith and the Roosters faithful will get their first look at the combination of Mitchell Pearce, Braith Anasta and new recruit Todd Carney in the same XIII, the playmaking trio seen as the key to the club ridding itself of the wooden spoon.

But with Anasta playing his first match since July following a broken ankle and Carney having his first run in the NRL at fullback, Smith admits he has no idea what to expect in his first game in charge of the Roosters.

"To be fair it would be nice if it was their third or fourth go at it, but it's not, it's their first go at it," Smith said.

"So whatever they can muster on Sunday you'd certainly hope that three smart footballers like that would certainly be able to improve on that in coming weeks as well.

"We're just getting the first chapter of that this weekend.

"The test for us is how well we can make our plans take off right from the start. It would be great if we could, but if we can't we'll build on that the week after."

Despite Anasta's long-awaited return, all eyes will be on Carney, who will return to the NRL for the first time since July 2008 when he was sacked by Canberra following a string of off-field incidents.

He resorted to playing park football in northern Queensland after the NRL refused to register a contract with him last season, and to make his comeback just that little more difficult, the 23-year-old has also been handed the task of shifting from his preferred position in the halves to the No.1 jumper.

Smith denied he was trying to mimic the way he used Kurt Gidley at fullback in Newcastle, claiming Carney would bring a different set of skills to the tale.

"It'll be similar but (Carney's) a bit different in that he's a legitimate half or five-eighth in his own right where Kurt was always a bit of a utility player," Smith said.

"I'd like to think that when Todd's halfback/five-eighth skills are incorporated into his fullback role, it won't be a problem for him at all.

"But it's his first go at it so it's a really big challenge for him."

All the talk heading into the ANZ Stadium clash - the 200th meeting between the two clubs - has been on the massive pack being run out by Rabbitohs coach John Lang.

The star quality prompted new Souths recruit Dave Taylor to claim it was the best pack in the competition.

Asked how his forwards would stack up against the red and green giants, Smith said:

"We don't know - we've got it all to do.

"If we are playing against the best pack that's probably a good thing this week, it'll give us a good measure of where we're at.

"We're the opposite of our opponents this week - they know exactly where they're at, what their expectation is.

"We're at the other end, we don't know where we're at, but we're about to find out."

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