Emotion of Anzac Day a lesson for Roosters

·2-min read

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson says the reverence and energy around Sydney Cricket Ground on Anzac Day will be the perfect lesson for inexperienced halves in finals football.

The annual Anzac Day clash with St George Illawarra is one of the biggest events on the NRL calendar and the closest a team can get to the pressure of finals football.

It's no do-or-die game, but the emotion of the day and a heaving crowd stirs adrenaline that needs to be handled.

And for Roosters halves Drew Hutchison and Sam Walker, that experience will be invaluable come crunch time this year.

"It's the things that surround the day," Robinson said ahead of Sunday's game.

"There's so many things that you're excited about playing on Anzac Day. There's usually a slightly different preparation, you're in the change rooms to warm up but in the end you've got to go out and play your style of footy.

"That's why it's similar to finals footy."

It can be overwhelming, but it's part of the experience.

"We deal with it through education from the senior players and the coaches in how to deal with the changes and how to dial into playing your sport," he said.

"That's why it's great practice."

Hutchison and Walker have just 21 NRL games between them but have stepped in to deputise while Luke Keary and Lachlan Lam are sidelined with injury.

The injuries could have been a killer for the Roosters season but their impressive form has kept the side humming along on the verge of the top four.

The Dragons have been the surprise packet of the season and have the same record of four wins from six games to start the year but have lost four of the past seven Anzac Day games.

Halfback Ben Hunt, rated an outside chance to return from a broken leg, has been ruled out after the Dragons' captain's run Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Roosters will nod to history with a commemorative light blue jersey, a replica of the one they wore during competition throughout World War II.

"It's so important, that jersey," Robinson said.

"Understanding that during war time rationing was important and the dye was limited, so therefore that's why they tinged it in that light blue colour.

"To wear that wartime jersey that we won premierships in on Anzac Day, we didn't need anything else.

"We've had different images on the jersey in the past but just tinging it blue this time was enough.

"It's important for us to put it on again."