Fast-starting Sharks look to get the jump on Roosters


Trent Robinson has shrugged off concerns the Sydney Roosters could miss the jump on Cronulla in their elimination final as statistics show a considerable gap in the NRL sides' record to begin games.

In the opening 20 minutes of games this year, the Sharks have scored nearly twice as many points (160) as the Roosters (88) for a points differential of +60, compared to the Tricolours' -32.

Since round 10, the Roosters have scored the first try in only four of 16 games, with the Sharks crossing first in eight during that time frame.

The Sharks have scored a try in the opening 10 minutes of 13 games this year, with the Roosters doing so in only four - two games fewer than the last-placed Wests Tigers.

Robinson was cool when asked how the Roosters' slow-starting tendencies could affect their bid to keep their season alive in a must-win clash at Shark Park.

"We go after the game," he said.

"We've got to be clear about the opposition but it's been the mindset that we're attacking the game.

"We're playing a good opposition. We know that we're going to their home to go to play and we respect that. We're going to go after it."

Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon, Robinson's long-time assistant at the Roosters, was keen for his side to continue its trend of hitting the ground running.

"It's really important," he said.

"You want to get out and get in the initial exchanges and sort of feel the game out.

"It's obviously going to be intense, physical and fast. You want to be a part of that. You want to control that, you don't want to be on the back-end of that."

The match marks Fitzgibbon's third meeting with Robinson's Roosters since leaving the club for his first head-coaching job last season.

The ledger sits at one win apiece, with the Sharks sealing a 22-12 win in round seven and the Roosters thrashing Cronulla 36-16 in round 12 last year, ironically after getting off to a fast 24-0 start.

Fitzgibbon and Robinson remain close friends after winning three premierships together on the coaching staff at the Roosters in 2013, 2018 and 2019.

They message most weeks, but the phones will be away until after Saturday's match.

"We're great mates and we don't need to speak this week to be great mates," Robinson said.

"That personal bit's on hold. We got a job to do.

"We know we're in this. The reason we're standing here is because we work for our clubs and that's our job this week.

"Our friendship will last forever. But this week it's business as usual when it comes to finals."