AAP Rugby

Cronk: Roosters have found their identity

By AAP Newswire

Cooper Cronk has declared the Sydney Roosters have discovered their "identity" as they show signs of peaking with September on the horizon.

After a lacklustre start to the year, the Sydney Roosters provisionally moved to the top of the NRL ladder with a gritty 18-14 win over fellow title contenders South Sydney on Friday.

After winning 11 of their last 13, they are arguably the form team of the competition with three games remaining.

With the arrival of Cronk and James Tedesco this year, many pundits believed that unless they win a premiership over the next two seasons, it would be considered an underachievement.

After feeling the weight of expectation early in the season, Cronk said they had discovered the brand of football they want to be playing.

"When you've got a football team that have got a very good coaching staff that work hard and try to get better every day and you've got a playing group that's willing to evolve, listen, change and train hard, you're always going to have a trajectory on the up," Cronk said.

"It's when you start throwing things out and changing things week-in-week out - and we probably were guilty of that early on - but definitely now we've probably got our identity."

Much has been made of the fact the Roosters are the best defensive team in the competition this year.

Cronk said the "identity" was about playing through the middle third and being able to attack from any point on the field.

"Whenever someone is carrying the football, it's about a lot of support, create momentum through the middle third," Cronk said.

"A lot of guys will say you need to spread the ball wide to (Blake) Ferguson or (Latrell) Mitchell or (Daniel) Tupou or whatever.

"But the essence of those guys putting the ball down in the corner means that Jake Friend is doing a role, there are ruck forwards pushing into space and the halves are in the right positions making decisions."

The Roosters have now lost just twice since being thumped 24-8 by St George Illawarra on Anzac Day back in April.

Following that game, Robinson declared that he and his coaching staff needed to reevaluate themselves and evolve.

Asked what had changed since then, Cronk said: "Put it this way now, wherever the ball is played, any position on the field, we have fluency and know what we can do from that position.

"We probably were too stagnant in terms of going in for one play and trying to set up for one shot.

"In the competition now the defences are so good you need to be able to have multiple shots at the opposition no matter the field position."