The Sydney Roosters have re-signed coach Trent Robinson until the end of the 2019 season. Despite a rough start to the year in which the Roosters sit near the foot of the table with the second-fewest wins in the NRL, the Roosters re-upped the premiership-winning coach to a further two years on his current contract in a deal announced to members via email.
He’s one of a handful of coaches to have won a premiership in their first year of top-grade NRL coaching, and he’s won three minor premierships in his three years heading into this season.
Yet it’s been a rocky road in 2016 with the coach having to wait nine weeks for his halfback Mitchell Pearce to play following a suspension, eight weeks for his star Origin second rower Boyd Cordner to play a game due to a pectoral tear and 10 weeks for his defensive leader Jared Waerea-Hargreaves due to a torn ACL suffered last year. The club also lost Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, James Maloney and Michael Jennings to other clubs in the offseason and lost off-season recruit Dale Copley to a pectoral injury early in the year, an injury he is only set to return from this week.
Forced to blood youngsters Jayden Nikorima and Latrell Mitchell ahead of time in critical spine positions alongside relative rookie Jackson Hastings, the club stumbled and sputtered to a 0-6 record to kick off the year, its equal worst start in 50 years since the club went winless in 1966.
Recently the club has been embroiled in rumours of in-fighting which it’s reported led to the dropping of Jackson Hastings from first grade just 10 weeks into what many believed would be a new era in the halves, with Ryan Matterson now starting in the five-eighth spot and Jayden Nikorima rumoured to be homesick for Queensland. It’s also dealt with recent injuries to Siosiua Taukeiaho and Shaun Kenny-Dowall, inarguably the club’s two best players during that 0-6 start.
Regardless, the move is a rare show of patience for a club that doesn’t typically take long-term rebuilds, with this a show of faith in Robinson’s ability to develop youngsters and rebuild the club on the fly. As Nick Politis said in a statement to members:
“We are fortunate to have one of the game’s most astute coaches at the helm of our proud Club. Trent is a man of high integrity whose unwavering pride and passion for the Sydney Roosters and the area we represent has cultivated a strong culture at our Club.
“His strong leadership and resilience, especially at a time when our on-field performances have not been up to his or the Club’s high standards, also says a lot about the type of coach that he is.
“But just as significantly, Trent has played a vital role in the development of all the players within our system, and it’s wonderful to know that he will continue to lead the Roosters for at least the next three years.”
The club is also expected to sign Mitch Aubusson to a new deal in the coming weeks.