Sydney Roosters’ premiership defence has been described as shaky, with many concerned the wheels are about to fall off their title defence. But is there really cause for concern?
While the club finished up as minor premiers for the second consecutive year, a one-point loss to the Panthers in week one of the finals saw them have to back up in incredible circumstances against North Queensland.
Despite the Roosters giving up 30 points in last Friday's thrilling win, astute Roosters mentor Trent Robinson insisted they'll be looking to take the advantages from the semi-final after progressing to a final-four showdown with rivals the Rabbitohs.
The lessons learnt against the Thurston-inspired Cowboys will be pivotal according to Robinson, with the second-year coach ultimately noting South Sydney can make of their second half lapse in defence however they wish.
"As long as we hold onto the stuff that got us into good positions and fix up some stuff that we need to, then it is growth throughout the finals series which we need," Robinson said.
"Obviously there's a bit of work to be done this week but as long as we get that done, we'll be in a better position again on Friday night."
Winning is the goal that clearly matters to Robinson – it is just a matter of improving.
There isn't the two competition points to worry about. No for-and-against to stress over any more.
Conceding 30 points at the pointy end of the year is undoubtedly frowned upon but a win is a win and the Roosters need just two more to be the first side to taste back-to-back premierships since the Broncos achieved the feat in 1993.
"We don't like conceding that many points. There have been games where we've lost where we haven't conceded many as well but the ultimate goal... is to win," Robinson said.
"The method that we did it on the weekend pleased me a lot and didn't please me at all in different periods in that game. Where [North Queensland] scored those 30 points, we know we need to fix some stuff up otherwise Souths will get the jump on us there."
Such is the way of finals football, emotion undoubtedly has already come into play throughout the finals series.
While they have had to take a different route to the finals and the potential of flat performances growing, Robinson is comfortable in knowing his troops have recovered well over the weekend.
"It was good to... get a couple of day's recovery and start up on Souths on [Monday] morning," Robinson said. "They're all in a good frame of mind and they will be all ready to go on the weekend."
Those wheels aren't ready to fall off just yet.