Soward's call to play Roosters: Bennett - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Soward's call to play Roosters: Bennett

Steve Jancetic 14/08/2011 08:24:25 PM Comments (0)

St George Illawarra coach Wayne Bennett said Jamie Soward made the final call to play in the upset 20-12 loss to the Sydney Roosters in which he was little more than a passenger.

Soward was clearly hampered despite declaring himself fit, having spent much of the week struggling with a back ailment which forced him from the field in the previous weekend's loss to Wests Tigers.

It again consigned him to a seat on the bench before the game had ended on Sunday, the NSW Origin pivot removed from play after the Roosters had gone up by more than a converted try with ten minutes remaining.

Bennett said he had left the decision to Soward but he seemed none too pleased with the result.

"He was asked on a number of occasions whether he was fit to play, he did a full training session with us yesterday, he said he was right to play," Bennett said.

"There was no pressure from the club for him to play so you've got to assume he was fit.

"He did everything yesterday at training except kick and we knew he wasn't going to kick today, that was a decision that he didn't want to kick."

Not only did Soward not kick, he did little else with his movement clearly restricted.

A limited defender at the best of times, he was shrugged off easily on a number of occasions, including in the lead-up to Phil Graham's try which gave the Roosters a 10-0 lead after 12 minutes.

He didn't seem to have the strength to get a pass over the head of Braith Anasta, the Roosters skipper duly talking the basic intercept, while he also wanted no part of a taking a bomb as the Dragons struggled to stay in the game in the second half.

His main strength, his prodigious kicking game, was non-existent, and he lacked his normal spark when attacking the line.

Bennett refused to speculate on his availability for Friday night's match against table-topping Melbourne, while Mark Gasnier - the only regular not available - was also no certainty to overcome a hipflexor injury in time for the trip south.

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