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30 May 2017 15:30
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Robinson hails Penrith as NRL trailblazers

    Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson says the wrestle is dead and NRL sides are starting to play more football.

    - article from www.rugbyleague.co.nz

    Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson has praised Penrith for paving the way for the NRL's attacking revolution and for jolting the game out of the dreaded wrestle-fest of recent times.

    Ahead of their round-three clash at Pepper Stadium on Saturday night, Robinson tipped his hat to the Panthers as the game's best exponents of throwing the football around.

    He said the trail blazed by Anthony Griffin's side was now being followed by other sides, including his own.

    Over the opening two rounds, 723 points have been scored - the most over that period since the introduction of the 16-team competition in 1999.

    Robinson said the game had changed and sides were now willing to chance their hand, a welcome departure from the dour defensive grinds that had turned off fans in their droves.

    "I think it has," Robinson said when asked if the NRL has evolved.

    "It's only been two rounds but there's been a choice by teams to move the ball a bit more. We saw Melbourne (on Thursday night) move the ball really early against Brisbane so they had a lot more passing.

    "I think it's created a bit of unstructured play, which is good to see in our competition."

    The Roosters have at times been error-riddled during their wins over Gold Coast and Canterbury, however Robinson has tempered his criticism, safe in the knowledge it's a by-product of his side's new-found flare.

    They sit equal first for points scored (60) - on par with the Sharks.

    They have scored the most tries per game (5.5) and are second for linebreaks (6.5), according to Fox Sports Stas.

    Robinson said the Panthers deserved praise for their willingness to break the mould, crediting it as a major reason why they had been so heavily backed to break their 14-year premiership drought.

    "Penrith have been the best and definitely been doing it for a few years," Robinson said.

    "They're a very good eyes-up team, they play a lot of footy and they've got the players to do that.

    "It's been one of their strengths and why people have talked about them being favourites for the competition because the game is going there and they're playing that style."

    Both sides go into Saturday's clash without two of their best attacking weapons.

    Roosters centre Blake Ferguson will miss one to two weeks with cracked ribs and will be replaced by Joseph Manu.

    Panthers back-rower Bryce Cartwright is expected to spend at least a week on the sidelines because of an ankle problem, however he has been cleared of major injury.

    The Panthers have named Kiwi international winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak in their 21-man squad after his recovery from a knee injury suffered in the pre-season.

    STATS THAT MATTER

    * Penrith will be aiming for their third-straight win against Sydney Roosters for the first time since 1991.

    * Penrith have conceded the equal second lowest number of linebreaks this season (3.5 per game) but have the worst completion rate (67.7 per cent per game).

    * The Roosters have won their opening three matches of a season just once in the NRL era - under Ricky Stuart in 2004, on their way to a grand final appearance.

    Source: Fox Sports Stats

    © 2017 NZN, NZCity


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