Dan Walsh, Staff Writer, NRL.com
Roosters prop Sam Moa is one for mincing opposition defences rather than words, and he makes no hesitation when admitting the Roosters have been guilty of complacency so far in 2014.
It seems like almost every week this season that a return to the devastating premiership-winning form of last year has been mooted at Moore Park, but the Roosters will head into their clash with the Dragons on Saturday with just one win since Origin II six weeks ago.
That 32-12 drubbing of the Panthers a fortnight ago had the rest of the competition battening down the hatches as the Roosters again looked set to emerge from their mid-season slumber, only to find themselves out-enthused and the victims of yet another unexpected pantsing last week, this time at the hands of a Newcastle outfit struggling valiantly to distance itself from the wooden spoon battle.
The Chooks' topsy turvy run of late has left them anything but steady in fifth on the ladder with 24 competition points, just two ahead of 12th-placed Parrramatta.
Moa concedes the Tricolours have been guilty of adopting a 'she'll be right' approach too often over the course of their premiership defence, with an all-important top four finish now no certainty.
"There's probably been times this year where we've relied on our talent and at times a bit on what we did last year [expecting] that to work for us," Moa says.
"We've floated around to get to where we are, we haven't played our best footy. So in the back of our minds, once we do get it together we'll be extremely hard to beat.
"But last week was a step back for us, but we're certainly still clear on our goals and where we need to get to. We will get there, it's just we have to start now otherwise it will be too late.
"We're still searching for that 80 minute performance which we haven't seen for a long while."
But while the premiers may have been caught out relying on the talent which oozes from the red, white and blue playing ranks, the Kiwi front-rower predicts the loss of arguably the most gifted Rooster of them all has the potential to bring the best out of his teammates.
Sonny Bill Williams, a bloke with more talent in his big toe than half of Hollywood, will miss the next three to four weeks with a broken thumb, though the Chooks' record without him over the past two years is a healthy five wins from six starts.
Moa is confident the rest of the Roosters star-studded pack are ready to pick up the slack in SBW's absence against the Dragons.
"He's without doubt a massive loss for us but everyone seems to contribute a bit more when Sonny's not playing for us," Moa says.
"The type of player and type of guy that he is, his workload is tremendous, and there's not another player on the planet who can do what he can do.
"So I think everyone has in the back of their minds that they have to up their work rate and do more for the team. I'm more than confident that we'll get through without Sonny, but he is going to be a big loss."