While Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson is pleased with a 4-0 start to the season, he believes some impatient play in Thursday night's 20-6 win over South Sydney shows his team still needs plenty of improvement.
The Tricolours always looked in control against a lacklustre Rabbitohs outfit at ANZ Stadium to complete their best opening month in 21 years, but some loose play – particularly in the second half – prevented them from capitalising on the scoreboard as much as their dominance indicated they should.
However, the amount of pressure they had to soak up at their line indicated a good defensive attitude.
"We were exceptional in 'D' and average in attack," was Robinson's blunt assessment after the game.
"We worked hard to defend what they were going to throw at us.
"They had lots of options and I thought we defended it well [but] we were in a rush in the second half to get our attack on when we needed to be a bit more patient, build it for five minutes. We wanted to defend on our line like that then try and score at the end of that set."
While pleased with the team's progress – particularly compared to a horror start to 2016 – Robinson stressed the need for further improvement.
"What we produced today won't be good enough in six to eight weeks' time so therefore we have to improve on that. Our expectations are high... that wasn't what we wanted there at the end. We're happy we won the game but we want to improve on that," he said.
He put the team's impatience down to confidence after a strong start to the season and wanted better execution without diminishing that confidence.
"Confidence [is] a good thing but it comes from confidence in the way that you play and there's a positive attitude about what you can do with your attack but with that fatigue after the defence with the score-line in our favour like that, with the conditions, you need to take five and 10 minutes, not a set after that. That was the let down in the second half."
One possible excuse would be the absence of captain and hooker Jake Friend but Robinson was delighted with the efforts of the makeshift combination of Paul Carter and Connor Watson filling in.
"Paul Carter started the game, he's more of a back-rower lock than he is a dummy half but his technical dummy half play in those conditions was outstanding," Robinson said.
He added Watson – who played out the game at hooker after replacing Carter at the half-hour mark – had "a great day in dummy half".
"There was a lot of pressure on those two and they did a really fine job," Robinson added.