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Sydney Roosters joint favourites with Melbourne Storm for 2018 NRL Premiership

Posted on 06/12 by Joe Gann

Sydney Roosters joint favourites with Melbourne Storm for 2018 NRL Premiership
Craig Bellamy assesses his playmaking options ahead of the new season as the Premiers face up to the challenge of life without Cooper Cronk.

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Premiership-winning coach Craig Bellamy has hinted that one man alone may not be capable of filling the boots of club legend Cooper Cronk. The new Roostersí signing has left a void at the heart of the Melbourne club and Bellamy may be preparing an unorthodox approach to combat the seismic effects of his loss.

The formula being concocted by the supercoach involves a rotation of players in the No 7 role to lessen the pressure on any single individual to live up to the exceptionally high standards of their predecessor.

Brodie Croft has emerged as the favourite for the job following an outstanding breakthrough year, but Ryley Jacks and Jahrome Hughes are also firmly in the frame. A bid for the recently available Mitchell Pearce appeared to be a sensible option given the experience of the ex-Rooster; however, salary cap restrictions put paid to the Stormís interest.

On the face of it, the idea has the advantage of ensuring a freshness in such a vital area of the team during the notoriously testing Origin period; the management of player fatigue during last seasonís series was highlighted as a major factor in the Stormís sustained form, particularly at the business end of the season.

Consistency was paramount when it came to the Stormís immensely successful 2017 campaign and an unsettled partnership in the playmaking department risks disrupting the continuity that an established halves pairing brings.

However, Bellamyís ability to evaluate his squad and deliver the most suitable solution to extract maximum results from his champion team is beyond reproach.

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