Season Summary: The Wyong Roos fell excruciatingly short of the 2015 VB NSW Cup Premiership after being one of the benchmark teams throughout the season. They also fell incredibly short of the minor premiership, by a single for-and-against point. The Roos earned a week off in the finals by conquering the Penrith Panthers 28-10, before earning a Grand Final position with a convincing 44-20 victory over the Bulldogs. It wasn’t their year, however, as they fell short to the Newcastle Knights in the VB NSW Cup Grand Final 20-10.
Coach Rip Taylor said: “Overall the season was great. Any one of the teams could have made the eight had they gone on a run. Our new affiliation with the roosters has been great – not only for Wyong but the Central Coast. Hopefully that will grow over the coming seasons.”
Best game: Taylor nominated the Roos’ Round 11 game against the Wests Tigers as their best of the season, as they overcame a 14-point deficit to score 26 unanswered points and win the match. Mitch Williams was outstanding for the Roos, leading from the front with two try assists from close range, while Abraham Papalii proved to be a powerful asset.
Worst game: The Roos’ most disappointing defeat would be the Grand Final, however it was far from their worst performance. That came in Round 14, where they travelled across the ditch to face the New Zealand Warriors, and came home with not a single point to their name, going down 28-0.
Turning point: A 30-14 victory over the eventual minor-premiership winning Mounties in Round 10 proved to be the turning point of the Roos’ season. After this match, they went on to win seven from their next eight games, which went a long way into securing a top-four position.
Standout performer: “Mitch Williams sets himself high standards and he’s probably his own worst critic, which is great. Young Nathan Smith has come to us – he’s been very good. Chris Centrone has been good, Omar Slaimankhel has been quite good – a there have been quite a few players that have stepped up and hopefully can keep stepping up,” said Taylor.
Destined for the NRL: The Roos have a handful of players who are certainly capable of making the NRL. The first is Slaimankhel, who was the VB NSW Cup fullback of the year after a stint in Japanese Rugby. A second standout is their captain Williams, who topped the try assists from dummy half this season and was rated the hooker of the competition for the second year in a row.
Future Focus: Like the Knights in 2015, the Roos will be out to avenge their premiership defeat in 2016. They have certainly benefited since linking up with the Sydney Roosters, and have proven to be one of the teams to beat within the VB NSW Cup competition. If they keep the majority of the squad, expect the Roos to once again to be a force and regain a top four finish in 2016.
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