Flanagan finds form in hardest place

Scott Bailey
Kyle Flanagan starred for the Roosters in their demolition of the Broncos

It almost defies logic that a young halfback at a new club could emerge out of a two-month lockdown looking more comfortable than he went in.

Unless your club is the Sydney Roosters, of course.

Sunday's game against Canterbury at Bankwest Stadium will be just Kyle Flanagan's fifth for the Sydney Roosters, and his 14th in the NRL.

But the difference between his first two in Roosters' colours in March and his past two since the NRL's resumption have been remarkable.

Now the NRL's leading pointscorer, Flanagan has scored tries in each of his past two games as the Roosters' attack has suddenly caught fire.

He also set up his right edge backrower Angus Crichton for a try in last week's shellacking of the Broncos, and had two linebreak assists in the big win.

"There are some things for a young half that we have seen in our game that can take a while to develop," Robinson said.

"I feel like he has done very well in coming out of the last break into these two games.

"And we're continually pushing for him to prove.

"(In) the (pre-season) World Club Challenge game, he was really good, but the NRL is a different beast.

"Coming in and working on those things in game without a trial match was a good test."

Flanagan's improvement comes despite the fact that for the first six weeks of the lockdown, he was confined to a home gym.

Ball work was out of the question and any physical combination work was impossible.

"We worked hard in those three and half weeks before we played that first game to accelerate the time we did have together," Robinson said.

"You can leave time to take its course or you can try and accelerate time through different training methods to try and improve those combinations.

"We're still in the middle of that."

The Roosters will have James Tedesco back for Sunday's game against the Bulldogs after last week's fever, while Victor Radley has also beaten an elbow injury.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are hoping the man Flanagan will be marking can repeat last year's form to spark their season.

Canterbury won five of their last six games in 2019, with Kieran Foran back in the side for the majority of those to help the Bulldogs into form.

Last week's win over St George Illawarra was their first for this season, coinciding with Foran's return from injury and easing some of the pressure on coach Dean Pay.

"Last year when we started going on a run, we got Kieran Foran back as well," Pay said.

"It'd be lovely to start now.

"We all know what Foz is about, he's a tough kid and wants to compete on everything."

STATS THAT MATTER:

* The Roosters have won their past six against the Bulldogs.

* Canterbury have failed to score above 12 points in their past four games against the Roosters. They have not had a streak of five matches like that against a team in 35 years.

* Canterbury have won three of their four games at Bankwest Stadium.