Coach Trent Robinson says his Sydney Roosters passed a big test of their NRL title defence credentials with Sunday’s 46-12 NRL thumping of the Warriors in Auckland on Sunday.
Not convinced by their previous three consecutive wins over St George-Illawarra, Gold Coast and Wests, Robinson believed the away victory over the dangerous Warriors put them in a good position going toward next month’s playoffs.
The return of Sonny Bill Williams and Jake Friend allowed Robinson to field his “best” line-up in four weeks and helped add the killer instinct needed to go deep into the knockout stages.
“We’ve built over that period and I knew our first real big test was coming here especially with the position the Warriors were in,” Robinson said.
Now third on the NRL ladder, The Roosters face the arduous task of tackling Melbourne and South Sydney in the closing rounds of the regular season in what will be a tight battle for the minor premiership.
But after scoring 94 points in their last two outings, they have all the momentum needed to make a late surge to the top.
Robinson pointed to improvements on defence as the most encouraging signs that they are going to be a genuine title threat in September and said the challenge now was to aim for consistency.
“We need to play these games and we need to prove ourselves away from home on trips like this and then at home against teams like Melbourne and Souths,” he said.
“We’ll know we’re at in a couple of weeks.”
The Warriors were desperate before the match and even more so now.
After failing to rise from 10th place they now need to win their last two remaining games to have any chance of securing their first playoff berth since 2011.
That is probably easier said than done.
The eight-tries-to-two loss was their biggest of the year, while a season-ending shoulder injury to David Fusitu’a means the Warriors are out of specialist wingers.
However, coach Andrew McFadden said the most disappointing factor was the attitude his side displayed knowing their season was on the line.
“I thought the signs were there in the first half, to be honest,” he said.
“Pretty early in the game I thought we lacked energy. As a coaching group we need to take some responsibility for that. We’ll have a look at our program and see if we overcooked things.
“There are no excuses for that lacklustre performance.”