Roosters rely on Allianz for finals insurance

Trailing the Titans by 10 points midway through the second half on Saturday afternoon, it suddenly dawned on Roosters players just how important the next 20 minutes would be. 

‌Continue to fumble and bumble their way through sets and they would face a trip to Suncorp Stadium in Week One of the finals; execute properly and they would instead host Wayne Bennett's men at Allianz Stadium. 

Thankfully for Trent Robinson's troops it was the second scenario that played out with Michael Gordon and Boyd Cordner crossing late while the former also slotted a couple of clutch conversions to secure second spot on the ladder. 

"There was a bit of chat out there that we should pull our heads in because we didn't want to go to Brisbane," Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce revealed. 

"Either way we would have been confident and ready to go but a home semi is more ideal. We always enjoy the contests against the Broncos because they're always tough games so we're looking forward to the test on Friday."

The Moore Park precinct has been a happy hunting ground for the Roosters who have won eight matches in a row there in 2017 while they've also won four straight against the Broncos at the venue over the years. 

According to co-captain Jake Friend, being able to stick to the routine that has served them so well this season will be a key factor heading into Friday's qualifying final.  

"We love playing here," Friend said. 

"It's great to be able to stick to your routine here and the boys can just be at home and that sort of stuff [throughout the week]. We worked hard to get second position and now we've got to do our bit because I'm sure Brisbane will come down and try to ambush us down here. 

"For teams travelling, you'll use that as [motivation] to say 'let's get them at their home ground'. The good thing is, we're in our office and our training facilities and the boys get to seep in their own beds and that sort of stuff."

Friend knows the importance of Friday night's blockbuster with the winner set to earn a week off and home ground advantage for the preliminary final. 

A break at this stage of the year is crucial for battle-weary teams while the loser faces a long road to the grand final; something the Roosters found out the hard way in 2014 and 2015 when they were bundled out in the preliminary final away from home having been humbled as minor premiers in week one of the post-season.   

"It's shown in previous years that it is a big game and it is an advantage to have the week off," Friend said. 

"The intensity of finals… to play three games to make the grand final is a big task so our goal will be to win on Friday to get the week off and freshen up."

One of those losses was to the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium in 2015 when Darius Boyd scored inside the opening minute as Brisbane ambushed the minor premiers en route to the grand final. 

They were equally ferocious when they met in Queensland earlier in the year and Roosters fullback Michael Gordon appreciates just how valuable home ground advantage will be on Friday night. 

"If you're playing up in Brisbane in front of 50,000, it's a lot scarier than playing them down here," he said. "Obviously it's going to be a hard game, but playing them in Sydney is definitely better for us."