Roosters aim to be more than just a nuisance
Roosters coach Trent Robinson says his side will head into Thursday's game against the Brisbane Broncos looking to win for the right reasons rather than trying to spoil their opposition's top four aspirations.
With finals now an unattainable goal, Robinson wants his players to spend the next six weeks setting the tone for next season.
"It's a poor motivation to get into," Robinson said when asked if he wanted his side to be nuisance value for the remaining six rounds.
"If you're focused on being an annoyance to other teams, you're putting it in the wrong place.
"That might be the secondary result, but the thing is to be the best team that you can be. If that's your focus, then you're going to play some really good footy.
"If your primary focus is to be annoying, then you won't progress very far and you won't be a good team in the future."
Despite Brisbane's poor form over the Origin period, Robinson is well aware of what the Broncos can do after his side was eliminated from the finals series at Suncorp Stadium last year.
Robinson also defended Brisbane's halves pairing of Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford, who have received plenty of criticism for their lack of attacking output since their red-hot start to the year.
With a glut of injuries in the forwards over the past two months, Robinson believes Brisbane's 'top quality halves' will return to form when the cavalry starts coming back this weekend.
"I think the pressure has come from other positions that haven't been there," Robinson said.
"Halves need forwards, and obviously with [Matt] Gillett being out and Alex Glenn in the centres, Corey Parker not playing and all that, a lot of them are coming back in this week.
"They're going to have a lot more force up front to deal with, and I'm sure the halves will enjoy that. We have to make sure that we defend them well because they are dangerous."
He added that it wasn't just the halves, but the entire Broncos squad who had felt the pressure over the gruelling representative period.
With just two wins from their last eight games, the Broncos are in a rut, but that won't make them easy-beats on Thursday night.
"They've obviously felt the strain, especially around some key forward players," Robinson said.
"Corey Parker [is] one of the best forwards in the game – if not the best over the last two years – he's obviously played that period at 34, which is tough. [Sam] Thaiday, being in and out for that period with suspension, and now with another one, it's been tough on them.
"It puts a lot of pressure on guys like [Adam] Blair, Jarrod Wallace, and those kinds of players. They've got a lot more stability in the back-row this week.
"They're fighting for one of the top spots, and they were grand finalists last year. We're the ones that have to go out and try to pressure them and come up with a result.
"We've got to make sure that we're good enough to overcome some of the strength that they've got back and try to capitalise on some of the things that we were trying to do last week that we didn't get done."
Robinson also confirmed powerhouse prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves would not be a surprise inclusion for the Roosters after being forced from the field with a knee injury after just 19 minutes in Melbourne last weekend.
"I'd like to think he might be back for Penrith, but I probably think it'll be North Queensland [in Round 23]," he said.
"We've got a long turnaround until the following Monday. It's not bad, but I'm hoping it might be right [because] we need him on the field, but I think it will most likely be North Queensland."