Plucky Roosters to crow

THE Sydney Roosters are well on their way to winning the NRL premiership.

That’s according to former halfback and grand final-winning Roosters legend John Mayes.

Mayes, who now resides in Evans Head, is confident his former team has ticked all the right boxes in giving themselves a genuine chance of defeating the Dragons this weekend.

“It’s absolutely fantastic the boys have exceeded all expectations I had of them at the beginning of the season,” Mayes said.

“I was a bit worried towards the back end of the season when they fell into a bit of a slump and lost a few in a row but their form in recent weeks has been terrific.

“Everyone is playing out of their skin and the team looks to be at full strength going in to the grand final so you can’t ask for anything more than that.”

Mayes was one of the last champion halfbacks to guide the then Eastern Suburbs to back-to-back grand final victories in 1974 and 1975.

He also played in the 1973 grand final-winning Manly-Warringah team – that’s an incredible three consecutive premierships for Mayes.

Mayes is confident that halfback Mitchell Pearce is more than capable of steering the Roosters to their first premiership win in eight years.

“Pearce is just getting better and better; he and (Todd) Carney complement each other well,” Mayes said.

“They both play a lot of instinct football and Mitchell in particular shows tremendous tenacity in defence and always has a real dig every week.”

Mayes is still very passionate about his former club and would love nothing more than to see Brian Smith win his first premiership as a first grade coach.

“He’s certainly a hard task-master but the team have responded well to him,” Mayes said.

“He’s had some professional dilemmas and tough coaching experiences over the years but he appears to have come out the better for it.”

Mayes will be watching the game from the comfort of his own home this weekend having recently travelled to Sydney for a Roosters reunion evening.

“There was a good feeling around the place that night; it was great catching up with former players and meeting some of the current crop,” he said.

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