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Robbo to be NRL coaching great: Pearce

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson is yet to complete his first NRL season in charge of a club, but already halfback Mitchell Pearce rates him as someone capable of reaching the highs of Wayne Bennett.
Robbo to be NRL coaching great: Pearce
by AAP

By Rob Forsaith

SYDNEY, Sept 24 AAP - Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson is yet to complete his first NRL season in charge of a club, but already halfback Mitchell Pearce rates him as someone capable of reaching the highs of Wayne Bennett.

Bennett, the league's most successful coach with seven premierships to his name, will square off against the competition's youngest and most inexperienced when the Roosters host Newcastle in Saturday night's preliminary final at Allianz Stadium.

Both sides have been lifted out of their 2012 doldrums spectacularly this season, the Knights rising under Bennett from 12th and the Roosters charging to the minor premiership from 13th.

Pearce said Robinson deserves the vast majority of the credit for the sudden turnaround.

"I haven't had much to do with Wayne Bennett, he's obviously one of the true greats," Pearce said on Tuesday.

"But I think Robbo is going down that path. It's a big call to say so early, but anyone who knows him, they know how special a coach he is.

"His record speaks for itself so far, and we've got full trust in him. He's our leader this week and we'll follow him."

Pearce rated his team's new-found defensive steel as Robinson's greatest achievement in his short time at the tri-colours.

"Defensively we've created a good culture, it's all about hard work and turning up for each other. In 2010 we were a lot more of an attacking side, we had a lot of flair and we threw the ball around," he said.

"It's a completely different sort of situation now ... he has been pretty much everything (behind that).

"He's given a lot of confidence to all the boys, given really simple instructions that everyone has bought into."

The Roosters are favourites to progress to the grand final after enjoying a week off as reward for a 4-0 qualifying final win over Manly, but Pearce said Robinson has ensured the side's focus is only on this weekend.

"We've got a great coach and they know how to level you out pretty well," he said.


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