Roosters defence not up to standard: Aubusson
When Trent Robinson took over the Roosters three years ago, the rookie coach instilled in the Bondi club a defensive edge that turned them into the most frugal team in the competition.
They were the best defensive team in 2013 and 2015, and finished second behind the Rabbitohs in 2014.
But after conceding just 300 points last season, the Roosters are anchored at the bottom of the table having already allowed 103 points just three rounds into 2016.
It's an eerily similar start to 2007, where they lost their first five games, conceding 160 points in the process.
Remarkably, in that five-game stretch they lost to the Raiders and Cowboys on the road, and were beaten by Souths and Manly at home. They have already lost to those first three teams – all at the same venues – and are preparing to host Manly this weekend.
Roosters utility forward Mitchell Aubusson is fully aware the Roosters' defence has been poor, but says he and his teammates are doing everything in their power to rectify the situation leading into Saturday night's clash.
"It's not up to our standard and everyone in there is well aware of that and working hard to turn that around and I'm sure we'll do that on Saturday night," Aubusson said.
"It's obviously not the start we wanted for this year. The only way we can get out of it is by working hard, staying together and fighting our way out of it, which I'm sure we will."
With attacking weapons Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, James Maloney and Michael Jennings all having left Bondi at the end of 2015, most people assumed the Roosters' main problem this season would be in attack.
But while they rank 15th in terms of points scored (10 per game), it's their competition-worst defence (34.33 points per game) that has alarm bells ringing.
Aubusson says he's at a loss to explain why the once-famous 'Bondi Wall' has been breached so easily in 2016.
"It's not good enough from us. There's no excuse for that and we've worked hard enough on it and we'll continue to work hard on it," he said.
"It's about getting our combinations together and making sure they work every week. We've obviously fallen very short of that and we'll make sure we work hard to get that right."
Aubusson said the onus was on the senior players to step up, and that Saturday night's grand final replay was the perfect stage to make a statement to the rest of the competition.
"Most people in there need to work hard and work out how we can get better. It's up to us senior guys to lead those young guys and there's definitely improvement in that area," he said.
"The guys in there are hurting and we'll work hard and definitely show a better performance this Saturday night."