Not the end of an era: Roosters

It shapes as the end of the era and the closing of the Sydney Roosters’ premiership window.

But Trent Robinson has fought back against suggestions the Tri-colours’ time at the top of the NRL tree is coming to an end.

Friday’s preliminary final against Brisbane could potentially be five-eighth James Maloney and fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s final games in Roosters colours.

With two members of their spine departing at the conclusion of the season, they face a tough task to regenerate from beneath and remain amongst the competition’s elite next year.

For the last few years, the Roosters have been the league benchmark.

They claimed their third straight minor premiership this year and are on track to for their second premiership in three seasons.

But sustained success is a rare achievement in the NRL.

The size of the task in front of them is exemplified by the fact that if they finish with top spot again in 2016, they will become the first team in just under a half a century to claim four straight JJ Giltinan Shields.

The last team to achieve that feat was the great St George dynasty of the 50s and 60s.

As has been the fate of many sides who have enjoyed periods of dominance in the modern era, they must spend time rebuilding.

“We’re in good stead,” Robinson said.

“We’ve had a young squad for quite a few years and we’re young again next year.

“That’s where our coaching comes in.”

Jackson Hastings, who has carried the load during Mitchell Pearce’s month-long lay off with a hamstring problem, shapes as a ready-made replacement for Cronulla-bound Maloney.

While in-form No.1 Tuivasa-Sheck, who will return to his native New Zealand to link with the Warriors, will leave a cavernous hole with Blake Ferguson and young gun Latrell Mitchell tipped to step into his role.

Robinson acknowledges both will take some replacing but insists there’s no reason they can’t be a force next year.

“We’ve got quality, two huge players (leaving). James Maloney and Roger, they’re quality people and quality players and they’re hard to replace,” Robinson said.

“But that’s what our recruitment has been about and that’s what our coaching has been about – to fill those roles.”

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