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Cronk's warning: Chooks just warming up for end-of-year feast

Cooper Cronk said the Sydney Roosters' win over the Raiders served as a perfect tune-up for a possible rematch in the first week of the finals.

After beating Canberra by six in round nine, they won another close contest on Sunday, this time by four points.

How the Tricolours ended up in front at the end of 80 minutes in each game was very different.

From having to protect a large lead in the face of mounting injuries in round nine, the Roosters were forced to grind out the narrow win on Sunday in the face of a large and vocal contingent of Canberra fans at GIO Stadium.

"Whenever you play you want to play your most expansive brand of footy, but big games often come down to scrappy affairs and you have to be mentally and physically tough," Cronk told

"I thought both teams did that really well, but the best thing about our performance was when the Raiders responded to us, we stood firm and got back in the physical battle and came up with points enough to hold them out.

"It was finals-like intensity, but it wasn’t our best performance, but it was a decent one."

Cronk was happy with his side's scrambling defence and he feels their structures forced the Raiders to change their game plan, which coach Trent Robinson called "conservative" pre-game.

Match Highlights: Raiders v Roosters

"When you've got a good defensive system and you're repelling teams they'll come with a different style," Cronk said.

"I think our system holds up well under intensive pressure whether teams are offloading, shifting or playing conservatively.

"The way Trent Robinson coaches his style holds up under all conditions."

Post-match Robinson lamented the 64th-minute try to Raiders forward Elliott Whitehead which gave the home side a chance of a come-from-behind victory.

Cronk said in an ideal world the Roosters would have gone on with the job, but paid tribute to Canberra's resolve on show until the final seconds.

"When you get an opportunity, you want to go on with it and you want to be ruthless," he said.

"But that's the NRL competition, it's the hardest on the planet because the competition is even, good teams can beat anybody, and they fought back on their home soil.

"It's about how you respond to that, you'd love to play perfect football all of the time but sometimes you don't, it's about how you get back into the contest and I thought we did that really well."

With a month left until the finals, the Roosters only play two sides inside the top eight in Penrith and South Sydney in rounds 24 and 25 respectively.

Before then, a clash against a desperate New Zealand side fast running out chances to secure eighth spot awaits them at the SCG on Sunday.

"The situation of opposition teams doesn't really come into it for us," Cronk said of the Warriors clash.

Get Caught Up: Round 21

"Obviously the Raiders are a top-four side and there was a lot of talk about the game, but it was about our game style and how it holds up under pressure.

"The Warriors have a formidable outfit, they have the skill set and an aggressive forward pack so they're going to try things to disrupt us.

"I'm not sure what their situation is heading towards the finals, but our best football will hold up if every person stands up."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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