It was a long-time coming and it was worth the wait.
James Tedesco signed with the Sydney Roosters nine months ago. Cooper Cronk became a Rooster three months ago.
After posing for club and team photos proudly in their famous Tricolours jerseys over the past weeks, they finally pulled their boots on and got onto the playing field much to the delight of Roosters fans at Gosford on Saturday night.
After a quiet start in the opening 20 minutes of Saturday night’s final trial against the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, the crescendo started around the pair and kept building. The Roosters ran out winners 28-26 after trailing Manly on the scoreboard for two-thirds of the match.
Cronk and hooker Jake Friend look like establishing the same kind of rapport as the incumbent Test halfback had with his No.9 at Melbourne Storm, Cameron Smith.
Then twinkle-toes Tedesco opened the curtains to his show. He chased a Friend grubber through to score in the 50th minute, which means his links with his new No.9 could be as solid as he was with Robbie Farah back at the Wests Tigers.
Then Tedesco unleashed that individual brilliance. A chip-kick he regathers and scores with in the 55th minute.
“I think I got a bit lucky there with the tries but I’m pretty happy with that hit-out,” Tedesco told Roosters TV after the game.
“Obviously I was a bit rusty that first half, a lot of errors and a few early tries but our attitude to stay in the game and complete sets and stick to how we know how to play in the second half, we were able to get the win a lot of things to work on but a good starting point.
“I pulled up well. There was a lot of stoppages with a few tries and a few errors but the body felt good, I felt pretty fit so it’s a good starting point heading into the season.”
It certainly was, but leaking 16 points in the opening eight minutes will not want to be repeated as the Telstra Premiership opens its doors in two weeks.
“We weren’t too happy with our first-half defence on our line,” Tedesco acknowledged.
“We let in too many tries there where we didn’t get off our line. We can easily fix that and our completions weren’t up to standard. There’s lots to improve on.”
Cronk agreed with that estimation and began sounding very much like an old Storm trooper when it came to one of Melbourne’s favourite buzz words “structure”.
“Obviously we were very patchy. The first 20 minutes was poor to be honest with you as we didn’t touch the ball for the first nine minutes,” Cronk told Roosters TV.
“Once we got back into our structures and started to complete our sets, we’ve got a fit, physical, and mentally touch football team to come back from 16-0 with the wind against us.”
Cronk put out 53 minutes in his first hit-out since the World Cup final win by Australia in early December.
“I feel good. That’s the whole point of trials to get through some hard stuff, make some tackles.
“But also to see some things you’ve done through the preseason,” he said.
“I thought that second half was the way the Roosters want to play football. It was very pleasing to come out and speak about a few things in the sheds and then fix them.”