Robinson not surprised by Flanagan rise

Matt Encarnacion
Kyle Flanagan has pleased Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson with his rapid rise

For the first time in his burgeoning career, Kyle Flanagan is faced with the prospect of his dad planning to stop him in an NRL game.

The young Sydney Roosters half has become increasingly influential and looms as a key figure when the defending premiers attempt to end to St George Illawarra's mini-revival on Friday night.

It was only two weeks ago that Dragons coach Paul McGregor barely survived the axe after his team dropped their fifth straight game to start the season.

Now they've won two on the trot, and enter Friday's clash with the red-hot Roosters just two points behind eighth-placed South Sydney.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson sympathised with the predicament of Kyle's father, premiership-winning counterpart Shane Flanagan, who must help plot the downfall of Kyle and his teammates in his current role as McGregor's assistant.

"It has happened very rarely in our game... A few different other fathers and sons have had to go through it. I think it'll be very interesting for Shane," Robinson said.

"That's footy. That's the jobs that we're in and the life that we live."

It's also the emerging NRL career Robinson predicted Kyle would have.

The 21-year-old has stamped himself as a star of the future following his off-season switch from Cronulla, shooting to the top of the pointscorer's table after six rounds.

It was around this time last year the Roosters identified him as the player to replace retiring champion halfback Cooper Cronk.

"So that time last year was maybe two games in," Robinson said.

"He'd only played one game in the 2018 season.

"And what you've got to do is try and guess what his development was going to be and where you think you could get him to for recruitment.

"So happy with (his) progression, but not surprised."

Robinson said the key for Flanagan to emerge out of Cronk's shadow was to first learn as much as he can from the former Kangaroos and Queensland No.7.

But also to inject his own personality.

"(Cooper) has spent a lot of time with our halves. We try and download Cooper in those ways," Robinson said.

"And then there's a real tricky point here.

"How much do you learn from a senior player and a legend of the game, and then how much do you want to be yourself and have your own personality?

"And that's really key in forming any player."

The Roosters enter the contest as the hottest team in the league, the only team to win all four games coming out of the COVID-19 lockdown.

They're outscoring opponents by a staggering 31.3 points a game.

Star fullback James Tedesco was also ruled out late on Friday following a concussion last week, while Josh Morris is out with a calf issue.

Jason Saab comes onto the wing for the suspended Jordan Pereira in one of two Dragons' changes, while Jackson Ford replaces the departed James Graham.

STATS THAT MATTER

* The Roosters have won 10 of 13 games against the Dragons, by an average margin of 18 points, since Trent Robinson became coach in 2013.

* The Roosters' 175 points through their opening six games is their most since scoring 200 in 1996.