SBW and Roosters ready to defy history
Sonny Bill Williams has declared the Sydney Roosters' shock 52-point loss to Souths was "the wake-up we needed" before labelling his side's next opponent, Penrith, as the "Mount Everest waiting for us out west."
Williams was talking after Friday night's 60-8 loss against which rocked rugby league just a week out from the finals. Roosters fullback James Tedesco stressed his side had to "flush" that horror game.
No side in rugby league's 112-year history has ever conceded 50 points in a game during a season and then won the grand final.
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"Hopefully we can be the first in history to do that. It's just like people said you couldn't run the four minute mile. Just like that, someone did it. Hopefully we can be that team. Why not? But there's a little Mount Everest waiting for us out west first," Williams said.
"Hindsight is a beautiful thing. There's no point sitting here and moping about it.
"I think we keep our principles and structures in place. It's just the little things - the effort, getting back on side, putting pressure on their playmakers, the little things that punters don't really see on TV that make a big difference.
"It was the wake-up we needed. This week will be massive challenge but if we can remove the emotions and take the loss on the chin, because Souths were awesome. Everything they seemed to touch turned to gold.
"It was a tough night, embarrassing. But, I think you guys know my approach to life, there's more to life than footy - the glass half-full, always. But it was one of those nights. We let the boys down, let the club down and everyone in it."
Williams is poised to clash with Penrith giant Viliame Kikau during Friday night's finals blockbuster at Panthers Stadium.
"My nephew's favourite player is Kikau. He's a beast.
"He's a big man and he's got light feet. The lads will have their work cut out like with many other strike weapons they have in the team," Williams said.
"Before I came back - or even knew I was coming back - I sent him a message on social media and asked if he could send me a video to my nephew and he did that - he's a really good fella."
Tedesco said his side returned to training on Sunday with a new and improved attitude while conceding teammates were "complacent" against Souths.
"I can definitely tell already we are ready to go this week," he said. "It could be a good wake up call for us, getting that thrashing by Souths. Now everyone is switched on and ready to go and play their best game. It could be a positive for us.
"It was obviously very disappointing, we've addressed it, we just didn't go out and play, we didn't prepare individually the best we could have. We started the game well because we were feeling good but when it got tough, we just got worse.
"We felt like we were in second, third gear, we were slow out of the rucks, we weren't supporting, everything was really down. But I can definitely tell already we are ready to go this week.
"Everyone is keen to get out there, rectify and pay footy.
"It's just one game - it happened and we've flushed it.
"We have shown how good we can play as a team throughout the whole year.
"We don't need to discuss it really anymore because if we keep dwelling on it, or lose confidence from it or keep thinking about it then we won't play our best game this weekend. If the odds are against us, we'll take it. We will take the stats, hopefully."
Asked were the Roosters complacent, or even arrogant, Tedesco said: "Not arrogance, probably complacency. We knew we had made the four and were probably looking forward to the finals before we had got through that game.
"They (Penrith) have won how many games in a row now. They have a lot of young guys who are confident and playing good footy. Their defence has probably been top of the comp and they have a lot of young attacking players who can score points.
"The five-eighth (Jarome Luai) has been really good for them. He has been awesome for Nathan (Cleary), who has taken more control. Nathan is a dominant halfback and he has shown that this year and Luai has played footy on the back of that."
Originally published as SBW and Roosters ready to defy history