Shaun Kenny-Dowall scores in the Roosters' Round 14 win over the Knights at Alllianz Stadium. Credit: Grant Trouville. Copyright: NRL Photos.
A halftime spray in which coach Trent Robinson accused his side of "looking for soft options" was the catalyst behind the Roosters' second-half turn-around in their comfortable 29-12 win over the Knights at Allianz Stadium.
With seven uncharacteristic errors in the opening 40 minutes, the Roosters went into the sheds trailing 12-6, and Robinson let fly with both barrels, prompting a second-half blitz from the premiers that netted three tries in just 11 minutes midway through the second stanza.
Prop Sam Moa said that being accused of rugby league's ultimate sin was what spurred the Tri-Colours into action as they ran in four unanswered tries to record their seventh win from eight starts and consign the Knights to last spot on the NRL ladder.
"We copped it at halftime, we were way off the mark in the first half and [Robbo] gave us the truth," Moa told NRL.com after the match.
"He said we came out soft and that we were looking for soft options; that we didn't have a mindset of going out there and playing hard, we wanted to take the easy options.
"We copped it at halftime but we managed to turn it around, and it was good to see the response we had there in the second half."
Speaking after the match Robinson was coy on what he told his charges at the halftime break, but admitted he was disappointed with his side's intensity in the first half.
"I thought we were well handled by Newcastle in the first half, they ran hard and... they put a lot of pressure on us and we didn't handle it well in the first half, that's why we were down," said Robinson.
"The roles were reversed in the second half... there was some disappointing footy at different times and we righted some wrongs in the second half."
With the Roosters now entrenched in the top 8 and heading into their first bye of the season, their bid to become the first premiers to defend their title since the Broncos in 1992/93 is gaining steady momentum, though Robinson conceded his side is still lacking the "hard-nosed" edge that swept them to the title in 2013.
"On results [we're travelling] really well, on form, we're Ok," said Robinson.
"We've done some really good stuff; we've showed why we're a good team but haven't been hard-nosed enough.
"And there's a lot of time to go between now and the end of the season but we can get better at that."