Halfback Mitchell Pearce says the Sydney Roosters’ interrupted pre-season is no excuse for their poor start to the year.
The Roosters contributed 18 players to the end-of-season World Cup last year. A number of those players didn’t return to the club until well into the new year, delaying preparations for their premiership defence.
The tricolours arrested a three-game losing streak – their longest under coach Trent Robinson – against Cronulla on Saturday night but they remain outside the eight with a disappointing 3-4 record.
However Pearce says their heavy World Cup commitment isn’t to blame as they look ahead to their Anzac Day clash with St George Illawarra on Friday.
“We were confident we could play well, that was no excuse,” Pearce said on Monday.
“Obviously we didn’t have too much time together as a team with a few of the boys coming back late but we’re certainly fit enough and as ready as we can be.
“There’s certainly a few combos we need a bit more work on, but that will come as the year continues.
“It was nice to get the win the other night… to get that was a bit of weight off the shoulders. Not from the outside but from the inside.
“We’ve got high standards of ourselves, we haven’t been living up to them in all areas of the game.”
NSW incumbent halves Pearce and James Maloney have copped much of the blame for the Roosters’ troubled start and Pearce admitted some of the criticism had hurt his scrumbase partner.
“As the halves you get used to that sort of criticism, it’s just the norm,” Pearce said.
“I think it probably hurt Jimmy a little bit. But he performed really well the other night and I thought he was back to his confident best.”