Roosters coach Trent Robinson's blunt assessment of his side's 42-10 capitulation to the Rabbitohs on Sunday is that they need to learn their lessons quick-smart ahead of an away trip to Canberra.
Robinson refused to blame an inexperienced roster, created by some senior departures, injuries to key men and the standing down of former co-captain Mitch Pearce after his Australia Day indiscretion.
The Roosters coach wouldn't hear a word of the heat, or reduced interchanges, or of the new-look combinations taking time to gel in attack. Rather, he pointed the finger squarely at the senior players in the side giving away penalties at crucial times and making key defensive mistakes and denying the team the chance to work their way into the game.
While the Roosters received the ball first and had three of the first four sets, an attacking Jackson Hastings grubber that only just beat the chasers dead in goal was the last the home side saw of the ball for six sets. In fact, after those openings four sets, they controlled just two of the next 16 – a stretch that saw them fall 22-0 down.
"We can talk about our attack all we like but we gave them the ball through penalties or errors or even poor kicking, so that was our boat for the first 20 and we didn't deal with it well," Robinson said after the game.
"We needed to defend our line better than what we did. They worked hard for their tries, they fought hard and we gave them up too easily.
"We just didn't handle that possession period where it wasn't ours. It was hot, there was all the excuses in the world for what happened but in the end you've just got to deal with it, wait til you get the ball back and then give it back to them and we just didn't do that. It was probably 22-0 before we had a decent run of possession."
Robinson made it clear it was irrelevant to talk of the players unavailable.
"We played with the best team that we had today and we weren't good enough. It wasn't down to those young guys to pull us into a winning position today. It was a defensive role that we needed to play and it was around some of our senior guys that we didn't get it done early.
"We got a good lesson. We got beaten by a team that was hungry to win and we weren't hungry enough, we weren't detailed enough. Whether it was tackling, whether it was receiving kicks, whether it was our kicking – there were lots of areas we got beaten on today. We better improve.
"We got our lesson early, that's a big lesson to take in Round 1. Not many teams have taken a bigger lesson than that so far. We got a big lesson in Round 1 and we have to prove that we can improve from it next week. We go to Canberra next week. It depends on the next couple of days how we deal with it and how we perform next week. "
Robinson said the performance couldn't be blamed on a nightmarishly disruptive pre-season.
"I definitely wouldn't put it down to that. It's been well talked about over the last month what's happened but we've trained well enough. We've had different guys in different positions, the combinations can take some time but some of those weren't combinations early on, they were simple system errors and hard work errors. That's what let us down," he said.