Sydney Roosters say it was the loss they had to have.
Last week’s upset qualifying final loss to Melbourne brought to an end the Roosters’ 12-match winning streak and threatened to sink the minor premiers’ season.
But a Tricolours outfit galvanised by that loss to the Storm and the hurt that it caused have booked a preliminary final showdown with Brisbane next week after defeating Canterbury 38-12 in Friday’s semi-final.
Star Roosters back-rower Aidan Guerra admitted there had been some soul searching at Bondi in the wake of the loss and his players were determined to get back on track against the Dogs.
“We got a lesson from the Storm in more ways than one,” Guerra told AAP.
“You have to show up every week especially in the semi-finals and we didn’t play semi-final football against them and we got that lesson.
“We also got the lesson what it was like to lose, it was very quiet in the sheds afterwards and it was a reminder of what the feeling feels like and we don’t want it again.
“And I think you saw that against the Bulldogs.”
Coach Trent Robinson said the loss to Melbourne has recalibrated his thoughts on the Roosters’ approach.
“It had obviously been a long time since we lost, so it hurt, especially the Friday night, spent stewing on it, ” Robinson said.
“But the boys walked in ready to go. We had probably trained a bit more than we wanted on the Monday and Tuesday, but they wanted to get it right.
“They don’t make any guarantees. They just train hard and you’re looking for a bit more info, but they’re a bit more doers, so that came out through training and then obviously (against the Bulldogs).”
Prop Dylan Napa said sudden-death football had brought out the best in the Roosters.
“It wasn’t the ideal start to the finals but it probably helped us,” Napa said.
“We prepared well for Melbourne, but we were a bit off in the ruck and against the Dogs we got it back.”
“With do-or-die football I think a lot of our players play better when the pressure is on and we are just happy we can go to Brisbane now.”
“It’s a big challenge, it will be a great atmosphere up there and we are really looking forward to.
“I’m Brisbane born and bred so I can’t wait.”