Preparation is key for the Crusaders in knockout clash

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And that preparation needed to be deep, he added.

 

"The most important thing we talk about a lot is the game you are playing that week is the most important game," he said.

 

"We've got a lot of history in finals, but the ability to draw off all those learnings and remember what it takes to do it. Iit starts again, and [players should] love it.

 

"Go and enjoy the game, enjoy the week, enjoy each other's company, and still get the rugby right, but walk towards it," he said.

 

The selection process was also deeper, especially in the midfield and outside backs. Jack Goodhue had worked on recovering from injuries to both knees and was starting at centre while Braydon Ennor and George Bridge would come off the bench.

 

Fergus Burke was unlucky to miss out due to Richie Mo'unga's return at first five-eighths, especially after Burke had been player of the week twice in Mo'unga's absence.

 

But David Havili was able to cover for Mo'unga, and the selection was down to juggling the players to fit the demands of the game.

Having been in the playoffs every year in his coaching role, Robertson said his role was to keep giving players reminders that it was all on the night, and in the Crusaders' case, it was the second consecutive game against the Reds.

 

But his philosophy was 'different game, different team.'

 

Reviewing last weekend's outing against the Queenslanders came down to game management and small things about how they could be better in the second half.

 

The Crusaders knew what they could do well and understood what they needed to get right to succeed. They also knew Reds' coach Brad Thorn's coaching philosophy, but they couldn't assume things would be similar on Friday.

 

There was potential for change and possibly some different plays they might introduce.

 

Robertson was pleased with the way prop George Bower had stepped up after Joe Moody had suffered injury.

 

"He's got his craft right as a loosehead, everyone he comes up against he adapts. He's mobile around the field, but off the field is probably where we get the most out of him. He's got a natural way of uplifting everyone, he's a beautiful spirit," he said.

 

Fullback Will Jordan said 'completion' had been a word mentioned in the camp during the week, especially after the second half of last week's game became loose.

"That brought the Reds back into the game a bit. For us, it's about making sure we stick to our structures, we play in the right areas of the field, and when we get the opportunity to strike we execute that," he said.

 

It would be about delivering for the full 80 minutes.

 

Strategies would be similar to last weekend's game, but he expected superior execution from the Crusaders.

 

Hooker Codie Taylor said he had recovered from his rib injury, and could have played last week. However, it had been a case of what might happen by coming back too soon and then doing something that resulted in missing the quarterfinal.

 

He expected the Reds would be competitive for the whole game - that had been one of their qualities throughout the season.

 

The Crusaders had lost momentum against the Reds and, in finals football, they couldn't afford that.

 

"You have to take every moment you get. That'll be something we're trying to do this week," he said.

 

With several younger players, who had not been involved in finals football before, it was about reminding them they needed to nail their jobs every time they had the chance, and the team that did that best would win.

 

He added attention had been paid to discipline, something he was conscious of after his yellow card in a final last year had nearly cost the side.

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