Line has been firmly drawn in the sand for Roosters — and the players are buying in

Breaking rules just three rounds in. Image credit Zimbio.

Breaking rules just three rounds in. Image credit Zimbio.

The Luke O’Donnell one-game suspension shows coach Trent Robinson has a very low tolerance for bullshit.

Thankfully, at least two of their leadership group have come out in support of Robbo’s hardline stance.

O’Donnell was suspended for being late to training following a night out, with some rumours claiming he had a run-in with a niteclub bouncer.

“The Sydney Roosters have strong policies in place and any form of breach is taken seriously,” said Sydney Roosters Chief Operating Officer Football, Brian Canavan in a statement.

Five-eighth James Maloney was the first to come out in support of the suspension, telling AAP that:

“At the end of the day, we all know what is expected of us and Trent had made us all aware of that. We all understand that and everything is fine. We all know where we stand and every player at the club understands that. It has all been dealt with now. It is not an issue. It has been sorted out and we have put the matter behind us.”:

And prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves also supported the suspension, claiming in the Sydney Morning Herald that:

”We’re trying to build a strong culture here which needs strong standards set in place. And I believe that gives you – and your team – a better chance of success; you know your boundaries and what’s expected.”

Throw into the mix the pre-season release of Joseph Leilua and it’s clear that the Roosters are placing discipline first and foremost in the drive towards getting the proper culture in place.

A big part of creating that culture starts with a concerted effort from the leadership group.

Mitchell Pearce has been fantastic after rumours floating around towards the end of last season of a party-boy lifestyle — and while I maintain there’s nothing wrong with being a 23-year-old kid and having a good time, especially when you get to share a bed with a pussycat doll and a playmate, the rumours had a negative effect on his game and he wasn’t nearly the same player as he was before Origin.

This year, he’s really taken to the leadership role he has at the Roosters and a breakout performance is only around the corner.

Image credit SMH

Image credit SMH

The addition of Sonny Bill Williams must have had an effect on the club as well, as the dude takes phenomenal care of himself, doesn’t drink and is a physical specimen.

The addition of Maloney has been highly under-talked about, having been lost in the additions of big name signings SBW and Michael Jennings. But while on the field he’s been superb, it’s off the field and in training that his addition will pay mad dividends.

It’s easier to turn up to training if you know you’re going to have a laugh, and BBQ provides them daily. Plus, he’s a devoted family man and is one of the elder players at the club at the age of just 26 with everything in his life sorted.

But the most important thing in establishing that culture is the leadership at the top, and the coaching staff needs to take a lot of credit.

Now, players such as Jennings and Frank-Paul Nu’uasala — who’ve both had off-field issues in past seasons — know where the line is and what happens when you cross it.

The O’Donnell suspension is the low end of the punishment scale, with the high-end the BJ Leilua release.

As a Roosters fan it feels good to know that off-field issues won’t derail another season in the way it did in 2011.

From AAP (via NRL.com):

Star playmaker James Maloney has backed Sydney Roosters NRL coach Trent Robinson’s hardline approach to club discipline after Luke O’Donnell was stood down due to a series of minor breaches of conduct.

Former NSW and Australian back-rower O’Donnell was left out of the tricolours side to play Parramatta on Monday after a number of indiscretions that included arriving late to training.

Maloney, who joined the Roosters this season from the Warriors, said Robinson was doing what is necessary as he attempts to turn the eastern suburbs-based club into a premiership force again.

“At the end of the day, we all know what is expected of us and Trent had made us all aware of that,” Maloney told AAP on Wednesday.

“We all understand that and everything is fine. We all know where we stand and every player at the club understands that.

“It has all been dealt with now. It is not an issue. It has been sorted out and we have put the matter behind us.

“Trent has dealt with it and we move on to the next game against Parramatta.”

And from The Herald:

Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves said the hardline treatment meted out to former international Luke O’Donnell for breaching the club’s rigid standards of discipline was simply part of building a winning culture.

O’Donnell was stood down from the Easter Monday match against Parramatta for what was called an undisciplined act, which was then compounded by his being late to training.

Waerea-Hargreaves said coach Trent Robinson had not only imposed tough standards but had also explained to the playing roster the reasons for them.

”We’re trying to build a strong culture here which needs strong standards set in place,” said Waerea-Hargreaves on Thursday. ”And I believe that gives you – and your team – a better chance of success; you know your boundaries and what’s expected.”

While he did not make comment on O’Donnell’s indiscretion, 24-year-old Waerea-Hargreaves admitted while it was sometimes tough to live up to the expectations placed upon first-graders the risk of punishment should make any player think twice about stepping out of bounds.

”With Luke it’s been handled – dealt with as a club matter,” he said. ”But [his punishment] tells you not to step out of line. [The expectations] can be hard, but I think it comes back down to discipline and just a matter of dealing with the pressures on and off the field and getting your balances right in life.”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/tough-love-chook-soup-for-the-soul-says-jwh-20130328-2gx91.html#ixzz2OsmyZCOR

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One response to “Line has been firmly drawn in the sand for Roosters — and the players are buying in

  1. Pingback: Kane Evans set to make debut vs Parramatta Eels | 26 Rounds·

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