NSW Blues Mitchell Pearce and Boyd Cordner returned to the winners circle with the Sydney Roosters in Penrith on Saturday.

Motivation no issue for Roosters against Knights

Roosters players coming off a tense win against premiership heavyweights Canterbury insist they will be up for the task against a depleted and struggling Newcastle side they are expected to beat by plenty on Sunday.

The Roosters are the premiership favourites while the Knights are shortening by the day to earn the dreaded wooden spoon in 2015, painting Sunday's clash at Hunter Stadium as one of the real David-and-Goliath clashes of the year.

But with the Roosters widely expected to lap the Knights by a comfortable margin, the boys in red, white and blue say they can't afford to take anyone lightly.

"It's always a tough road trip up to Newcastle; we've got our pants pulled down up there before," back-rower Aidan Guerra said.

"We know that every team in the comp, whether it's one of the teams at the bottom or the teams at the top, you have to show up against them otherwise you walk away with your heads down. We're working on being consistent every week and that's not worrying who we're playing again. We need to play good football."

 

Guerra's back row partner Boyd Cordner said it would be no challenge at all lifting themselves to face the last-placed Knights despite an energy-sapping heavyweight clash last Friday, especially after Roosters coach Trent Robinson used the long nine-day turnaround from last Friday to this Sunday as a chance to give his charges a few days off to refresh.

"Everyone got a couple of days off just because of the long turnaround. It's pretty important with coming into the back end of the season to try and freshen up a bit. It was good to have a couple of days off training with no video and stuff just to freshen up mentally which was good," Cordner said.

"Getting away to a 22-nil lead then [the Bulldogs] coming back – it's definitely not ideal for us, it's unacceptable by our standards. We pride ourselves on our defence. [Even] though we have been winning games and got a bit of momentum there's still a lot of things that we can work on and we need to try and get them right pretty quick leading into the finals."

Cordner vowed the Roosters would be "up for" the road trip to Newcastle.

"No doubt about that, the Knights, though they haven't been winning games they've been right in them and especially with Danny Buderus taking over [as interim coach] now, he'll definitely have them ready to play against us on Sunday.

"We're under no illusion what we're up against, especially up there, they're a lot tougher team playing at home. We're definitely going to have to be on to win up there."

Despite being one of the most heavily-affected sides through the Origin period, the Roosters have come out of that part of the season in better shape than almost any other side both mentally and physically and Cordner praised the club's culture for creating that situation.

"It's a long season and everyone that watches rugby league knows that through the State of Origin period is where some teams can get a bit lost with their players being out but with us at the Roosters we've got a great culture here.

"It doesn't matter who's putting on the jersey they give 110 per cent and that's the way we've always gone about our stuff. We never thought we'd have a slump, if anything I think we've come out of it better than most other teams and found our groove through that Origin period so it's helped us."