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Robinson ready to unleash SBW and Friend against Raiders

“It’s always key when you have senior players ready, combinations you’ve had for a long time already,” Robinson said. “You can’t rely [on that], but you’ve got to go out there and reproduce it again. You want those players available.

“There’s a few different things [with Friend]; there’s the leadership, there’s the consistency of combination throughout the spine and the absolute selfless work he does for others. [I’m] looking forward to getting him back.

Sonny Bill Williams before training at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Monday.

Sonny Bill Williams before training at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Monday.Credit:Getty Images

“We’ve got our plan [with Williams] and we know how we’re going to use him. We’re very clear on how we want to play and that allows players to prepare throughout the week and know their role on the weekend.

“They’re focused. They’re both ready to play.”

Former Roosters coach Phil Gould wrote off the club’s chances of a title three-peat this week, arguing their ageing squad didn’t have a peak performance left in them despite a stirring fightback against minor premiers Penrith.

They are trying to become the oldest grand final-winning team in 50 years, with seven of the squad aged 30 or older, including Williams (35).

Our job is not to respond during the week, our job is to respond on Friday.

Trent Robinson

Asked about Gould’s assessment, Robinson said: “That’s opinion. That’s why you guys are asking me questions here. There’s interest in the game and my focus is getting the best out of the group on Friday. Our job is not to respond during the week, our job is to respond on Friday.

“We’re purely focused on having a great week this week and nailing it. You know I don’t believe in there’s only one way, you’ve got to execute how your path is going to look in 2020. We’ve just moved on to attacking Friday.”

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The Raiders match will be the first time the Roosters have played in week two of the finals since 2015. They had won their previous three week-one finals matches to advance straight to the grand final qualifier.

Canberra upset the Roosters in their earlier meeting at the SCG earlier this year, but the Roosters returned the favour in Williams’ comeback match last month.

Asked what last week’s fightback against Penrith would do for the team, Robinson said: “The belief in our fitness and the belief in our ability to seize moments … was there right to the end. We were very confident going after that, so we want to continue that.

“There were things we wanted to execute better to get that win and we’ve talked about that this week. The attitude and fight is exactly what you want to see and we want to continue that and improve.”

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