Motivation comes in many forms for the Roosters
With finals well and truly out of the equation in 2016, Roosters centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall says the final month of the regular season is all about his side reaching their potential.
Injuries have cruelled their tilt at a fourth straight minor premiership, but that doesn't mean the playing group will drop their standards, despite sitting in 15th spot on the Telstra Premiership ladder after 22 rounds.
Having strung together a run of impressive performances, the Roosters finally ended their recent six-game losing streak with a dominant 32-16 win over the Broncos in Round 21, but undid all that hard work against the Panthers on Monday night.
Despite a bright start, the Tricolours were totally outclassed 38-18 at Pepper Stadium; their cause not helped by the late withdrawal of halfback Mitchell Pearce.
"On the back of a win to put in a performance like that, we're very disappointed," Kenny-Dowall said.
"It's sort of been the story of our season. We get a chance to turn it around on Sunday, we've got to move on quickly and we need to start preparing for Sunday's game.
"We have been playing pretty good football over the last month so that was definitely a step backwards for us. It's disappointing, but I think we have to get back to playing the best footy we can and try to play to our potential.
"It's definitely tough to take, but we just want to finish the season well and play to our potential and play to the best we know how. We'll be happy if we can finish off the season with a few wins."
While the Roosters are no chance of playing finals footy this season, this weekend's opponents are battling it out for a crucial top four finish to keep their hopes alive of defending last year's drought-breaking premiership.
The Cowboys have dropped their last two games to slip from third spot to fifth on the ladder, and will have to address their poor away record if they want to stay in touch with the Raiders and Bulldogs on the fringe of the top four.
Kenny-Dowall said the Roosters would love nothing more than to add to North Queensland's woes, but was wary of taking on the fired-up champs.
"With the loss last week, they'll be looking to bounce back this week," he said.
"If we can put another rung in their ladder then so be it. We'll try to play our best and hopefully come away with the win.
"We have to start building for 2017. We obviously can't make the finals, but if we can start performing well and take that into 2017 then that will be nice."
Roosters coach Trent Robinson showed he's not afraid to switch things up late in the season with State of Origin representative Aidan Guerra relegated to 18th man duties this weekend, and Kenny-Dowall said the rest of the team were on notice.
"We're all under the pump," he said.
"We all have to take responsibility for where we're at in the season. It's simple; if we don't perform then there's always someone that they can replace you with."
Added motivation for the Roosters includes finishing ahead of local rivals South Sydney, but for players like Kenny-Dowall, the end of season Four Nations tour is another lure.
"There are definitely a few boys in contention for Four Nations, but we have to perform well at club level first," the Roosters centre said.
"But putting in good performances for the Roosters for the rest of 2016 is our main focus."