Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson insists he is more focused on the style of football his side plays than where they finish on the Telstra Premiership ladder after blowing a chance to move into the top four with Saturday night’s 20-14 loss to Penrith.
Despite an horrific injury toll that has seen Boyd Cordner, Jake Friend and Brett Morris forced into retirement and ruled out five-eighth Luke Keary, prop Lindsay Collins, star rookie Joseph Suaalii and centre Billy Smith for the season, the Roosters remain in top-four contention.
However, Robinson was more concerned with how they play than the results of matches after being forced to rebuild his squad on the run this season, including the introduction of teenage halfback Sam Walker and star centre Joey Manu being given a roving role on the wing.
“The overall goal is to play the footy we want to play,” Robinson said. “We are reforming our squad at the moment and we really want to execute our style of play.
Match Highlights: Roosters v Panthers
“If that gets us into that position [top four] then that is a real bonus, that’s a real positive … but it is not just about getting into a place. It is about playing a style of footy that you know is going to win games and that you are happy to have in your system.
“We are still working towards that and then we will end up in the spot that we do.”
After trailing 20-6 early in the second half, the Roosters appeared to have little chance of upsetting the Panthers but back-to-back tries by Manu and fellow winger Daniel Tupou put them in range of a snatching a late win.
Robinson was unhappy with his side’s lack of discipline, which resulted in prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves being despatched to the sin bin late in the first half after there consecutive ruck infringements near their own line.
However, he also believed that referee Gerard Sutton should have given Penrith forward Liam Martin his marching orders late in the match as the Panthers desperately hung on to their 20-14 lead.
“I think they have talked about it, but it has never been executed that way,” Robinson said of the use of the sin bin for repeated infringements. “It has never been played out that way so it was brand new again tonight.
“It happened right at the end of the game and nothing was done so consistency has to be there. If you are going to call it then call it every single game every single week.
“It happens every single game every single week so if they want to act on that then act on the one at the end of the game as well when we make a break and someone lies in the ruck. You have got to have the kahunas to make a call there.
Tedesco and Manu combine to get the Roosters back in it
“If they are going to do it in that game then we will see it in every single game and that is fine because they will stop lying in the ruck after that period of time.”
Waerea-Hargreaves played just 12 minutes after being sin-binned shortly after he took the field from the interchange bench but Robinson denied that his discipline was the reason the Kiwi prop wasn’t given a second stint.
“It was nothing to do with that,” Robinson said. “He was obviously on there and in that second half we just needed to get some change of momentum happening and that is why I made those changes.
“It felt like we were coming home there and didn’t execute well enough to finish it off. You could see that the guys were confident in how they were going to attack them and come over the top of them, but we couldn’t do that.
“We weren’t going to get any advantage there tonight at any stage. We were always on the backfoot. There was a lot of field position that was given away through our ill-discipline or through bunker decisions or whatever it was.
“We had to work for a lot and we created all of our stuff ourselves and not to finish it off that was disappointing.“