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The Sydney Roosters.

Isaac Liu has vowed the Roosters will turn the tables on the Panthers if they meet again this year, saying the victors "just played off the back of our errors" on Friday.

Tricolours coach Trent Robinson bristled slightly when asked after the 29-28 qualifying final defeat if minor premiers Penrith, who have now won 16 straight games, were the best team in the competition.

And lock Liu admitted he thought that "whatever they did, it wasn't really impressive" despite the Panthers coming back from 10-0 down.

The Panthers have booked a preliminary final berth while the Roosters will play the winner of Saturday's Raiders-Sharks clash next week. However, Friday's combatants could still meet in the decider.

"[Penrith] just played their game like they did, they just played off the back of our errors, our little mistakes," Liu said.

"We definitely can play better than that. We know that. But if there's a chance we do come up against them [again], we'll make sure we come out on top."

Character great, execution and skill poor according to Robinson

Winger Brett Morris was complimentary of Ivan Cleary's troops.

"I thought they were really good across the park. I think everyone out there played really well," the veteran said.

"They're a side that don't make too many errors and they stuck true to that last night."

Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary was upbeat after the loss, with his team rising from the canvas at 28-10 in the second half.

It was a vastly improved performance from the 60-8 shellacking they copped from South Sydney in round 20.

Match Highlights: Panthers v Roosters

"I remember standing behind the line after one of those tries and thinking it can either go one of two ways here. Thankfully it went the other way," Keary said,

"If you lose another big one there the fuel tank would be different, but we finished on a bit of a higher note which should help us next week.

"This is why you want to be here. I don't feel tired or anything like that. If you want to win it this what you have to do."

He added: "We have been together for so long this group, you look at each other and you know what we have been through together and the different game we have played.

"We could feel something [on Friday]. We are still in this up to our ears."

The Roosters have been buoyed by the news that prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves will be free to play having only incurred a fine for a high tackle on Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards.

"Obviously Jared's a big part of our side. He's a forward leader and having him in the side every week, that's a bonus for this club," Morris said.

A loss next week will mean the end of club legend Mitchell Aubusson's career. The utility, who became the most-capped Rooster of all time only a few weeks ago, said he wasn't thinking about that scenario.

Crichton sets up grandstand finish

But Morris said the desire to prolong Aubusson's playing days would provide some extra incentive to win – not that any was needed.

"This is why we play rugby league. We want to be part of these big games," Morris said.

"We know Aubo's close to the end but for us as a whole team, we want to be part of these games and we want to play all the way up until grand final day.

"Taking Aubo out of that situation, we all want to win. That's why we're here, it's why we play rugby league.

"Obviously Aubo's a guy that likes to keep things quiet and he won't mention it, but we're all going out there to win."

It's hoped that hooker Jake Friend (head knock) and forward Sonny Bill Williams (neck) will be fit to return but the Roosters didn't give much away.

"They bring that experience. We had Freddy [Lussick] out there who did a great job for us [at hooker] and if he has to do that again, he will," Josh Morris said.

"To have one of our skippers [Friend] in the team is a big boost for the team and with Sonny as well, his ball-playing abilities and just that X-factor he brings off the bench, we could really use that.

"If they both don't play we've got people in our squad who are capable enough of the doing the job."

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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