Fremantle Roosters – 2023 Fuel To Go & Play Premiership Season Preview

BY PETER ROWE

With the new Fuel to Go and Play Premiership now just days away, PETER ROWE opens a five-part preview with a look at defending premiers Fremantle Roosters.

 

How does a team that has dominated the NRLWA Fuel to Go and Play Premiership for so many years improve on last year’s Grand Final performance?
That is a question many are asking of the Fremantle Roosters, but one the club itself in quietly answering amongst themselves.

The Roosters have always made their statement on the field rather than off it and assistant coach Haden Papa believes a slightly different game plan in 2023 will again prove fruitful.

“Like most clubs we’ve lost a few and gained a few,” Papa said.

“The Hignett boys, Blake and Kerrod, are having the season off and they are two talented players we will miss, but we’ve picked up Julian Wilson-Wyllie from Rockingham and he has impressed us with his skills during pre-season.”

Fullback Tua Rangihaeata has moved to Queensland and that will also be a loss but Papa is confident they will be finals bound this year.

“Last year it was our effort and intensity that got us through – our energy on the park. This year we are looking to add to that by refining our play,” Papa said.

“A lot of players last season had a specific role, this year we want them to widen their responsibilities and expand their skill sets.”

“And of course see the hunger – that’s very important.”

One man at the club who seems to have an everlasting supply of hunger is player coach Delane Edwards.

In what some might term the twilight of his career, Papa insists he can go for a lot longer yet.

“Delane will certainly be there as a leader for us in 2023,” Papa said.

“He is such an influential player and with a new spine to look after he is crucial to our success.”

Pre-season has gone well for the Roosters, with good numbers and plenty to be pleased about.

“I’m excited at what Jules (Wilson-Wyllie) brings to us as we have more options to use through our middles,” Papa added.

“He brings so much, he’s right up our alley.”

“Richie Hicks has also impressed me during preseason with his attitude and Mitch Rory and Sonny Kerr as well have shown up and wanted to buy in.

“It’s been a big pre-season and we are building quite nicely.”

So can they go all the way again?

They certainly have the players to do that, and with a new more refined game plan you can never, ever write off the Fremantle Roosters.