Unchartered territory for young Roosters
Having experienced unrivalled success over the past three seasons, Roosters players are coming to terms with the fact they won't be challenging for the title in 2016.
With three straight minor premierships – and a grand final win in 2013 – the Tricolours have established themselves as arguably the form team of the decade.
Their dream run, however, is set to come to an end with the Bondi club languishing in 15th place on the Telstra Premiership ladder after 17 rounds.
While they are still a mathematical chance of making the finals – they must win their remaining nine games to finish on 28 points – the Roosters seem destined to miss the eight for the first time since 2012.
For senior players, it is the inevitable fall every champion side has to experience, but for generation next, failing to dominate is uncharted territory.
Dylan Napa made his NRL debut in 2013 – the year the Roosters won the premiership – and has only ever finished first after 26 rounds in the three years since.
"I walked into a pretty star-studded team and thought it was pretty easy with glitz and glamour and it was all good for three years," Napa said.
"Obviously this year has been one of the tough ones, but everyone's attitude is there. There are a few young kids like myself that are going through this tough period, but I think we'll be better for it in the long run."
The 23-year-old said the loss of key personnel at the end of the 2015 season had taken its toll, with stars James Maloney, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Michael Jennings proving difficult to replace.
"No doubt it's had an impact. I think a key member was James Maloney," he said.
"He was that settler guy, and he's a goal kicker and can slot some field goals, which he's pulled out this year for the Sharks, which hurts to see.
"That's the decision we made as a club and we'll be doing everything we can to get back to where we were and what our standards are."
While their quest for four-straight minor premierships in over, halfback Mitchell Pearce said the 2016 season hadn't been a complete failure.
The Roosters have been injury-ravaged for most of the season – Pearce has been limited to just four games – and it's that lack of cohesion, he believes, that has prevented the Tricolours from truly gelling.
While it might seem all doom-and-gloom, the long-term forecast is bright amongst the playing group under coach Trent Robinson.
"This year has been really frustrating, but you often learn the most through tough times," Pearce said.
'I think we've gone through a lot of transition this year. A lot of new players have been blooded, a lot of players haven't been there – including myself – so it hasn't been a smooth ride this year.
"I think one positive we can have is that we have had a lot of success for three years. It's obviously a little downer at the moment, but we've got a strong culture around.
"Robbo's a good coach and he's always seeing the bigger picture and that's the way we're looking at it."