SYDNEY ROOSTERS might still be preparing for the new NRL season, but coach Trent Robinson says his side will be switched on for their big World Club Challenge cash at Wigan Warriors on Sunday night (7.00).
Australia’s reigning champions are out to match Wigan’s record tally of four triumphs in the annual meeting of the Northern and Southern Hemisphere kingpins and level the series at 13-13.
And while Wigan are two games into their Super League title defence, Robinson, who once coached Catalans Dragons in the European competition, won’t accept that as an excuse should the Roosters come up short.
“It’s certainly not a trial match,” he said. “We’re definitely happy to be involved.
“We know the quality of Wigan and what they are capable of. We need to play with the intensity we usually play with and focus on our own style.”
New Wigan coach Adrian Lam (pictured), whose side bounced back from defeat by St Helens to beat Leeds Rhinos in round two of Super League, knows all about the Roosters.
He played for both Wigan and the Roosters, and the former Papua New Guinea international was part of last season’s coaching team at the Eastern Sydney club, while his son Lachlan is heir apparent to star halfback Cooper Cronk.
Both PNG-capped Lam and Cronk are part of a Roosters squad which also includes the likes of Boyd Cordner, his co-captain Jake Friend and their fellow Australia internationals James Tedesco, Luke Keary and Brett Morris as well as New Zealand trio Isaac Liu, Jospeh Manu and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves plus Tonga pair Siosiua Taukeiaho and Daniel Tupou.
But second row Angus Crichton, the Roosters’ high-profile recruit from South Sydney Rabbitohs, has been ruled out because he has not fully recovered after closed-season shoulder surgery.
Wigan coach Lam said: “They’ve got a great coach, they’ve got some great leaders in the team and a game plan that changes every week. It will be a tough game.
“We’ve got to stay in the battle the whole time and that is what Wigan are renowned for.”
Wigan Warriors: Joe Bullock, Tony Clubb, Tom Davies, Morgan Escare, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower, Oliver Gildart, Joe Greenwood, Gabe Hamlin, Zak Hardaker, Willie Isa, Tommy Leuluai, Liam Marshall, Romain Navarrete, Sean O’Loughlin, Sam Powell, Dan Sarginson, Taulima Tautai, George Williams.
Sydney Roosters: Mitchell Aubusson, Nat Butcher, Lindsay Collins, Boyd Cordner, Cooper Cronk, Jake Friend, Matt Ikuvalu, Luke Keary, Lachlan Lam, Isaac Liu, Joseph Manu, Brett Morris, Victor Radley, Siosiua Taukeiaho,
James Tedesco, Zane Tetevano, Daniel Tupou, Sitili Tupouniua, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
Referee: Robert Hicks.
* For a match report, reaction and pictures, get Monday’s League Express.