The Sydney Roosters say there’ll be no more moaning about referees as they vow to take responsibility for their ill-discipline and refocus on their NRL title defence.
The Roosters were the most penalised team in the competition last year and the worrying trend has continued in 2014, with the premiers being hammered weekly by match officials.
The 11-2 penalty count against them in last Friday night’s loss to Manly followed an unfavourable 10-3 tally the previous week in Brisbane and prompted coach Trent Robinson to label Ben Cummins’ refereeing performance in the grand final rematch as “unacceptable”.
But after losing to Manly, having also copped a 28-8 round-one hiding against South Sydney when caned 12-6 in the penalty count, the Roosters now accept they need to improve their discipline and stop giving opposition teams a leg-up.
That starts with Friday night’s blockbuster against Canterbury at Allianz Stadium.
“Robbo’s had his little say and it’s time to move on this Friday,” interchange utility Daniel Mortimer said on Tuesday.
“We’ll review some unacceptable penalties that Robbo says and they’re obviously the head highs and the blatant offsides.”
Star winger Roger Tuivasa-Sheck said with “other teams hunting us” in 2014 the premiers needed to be extra careful to stay onside with referees.
“Sometimes we’ve got to take ownership of ourselves and we’ve just got to make those marks that the refs are calling,” he said.
“We’ve just got to be hard on ourselves at training and say that, if this is how it’s going to be, then we’ve got to take it on.”
Mortimer admitted to being “gobsmacked” by last week’s lop-sided penalty count against the Roosters.
“We don’t go out there to give penalties away,” he said. “It’s unfortunate and I can’t explain why.
“But that’s something we’ve got to work on. We can’t really use that as an excuse.”
While Sonny Bill Williams returns from a three-match suspension for another showdown with the team he won the grand final in 2004 against the Roosters, the premiers on Tuesday lost fellow strike forward Jared Waerea-Hargreaves to a one-game ban.
Waerea-Hargreaves entered an early guilty plea for a grade-two careless high tackle on Manly’s Glenn Stewart.
“It’s definitely a big miss not having Jared,” said Tuivasa-Sheck.
“He’s sort of like the spark to our aggression and, when he’s on, all the boys want to follow him.
“It will be tough to have a week without him.”