Sydney Roosters prop Sam Moa admits a dreadful performance cost the team dearly in their upset NRL loss to Cronulla, but he also thinks Paul Gallen’s return shifted the Sharks up an extra gear.
A 10-4 loss at Remondis Stadium on Sunday was the price an ill-disciplined and wasteful Roosters outfit paid after completing just 53 per cent of their sets and making a whopping 20 errors.
Repeated possession handovers, dropped passes and a seeming inability to get out of their end of the field led incensed Roosters coach Trent Robinson to describe his squad’s display as “horrible, horrible footy”.
“The attitude wasn’t there and it just wasn’t good enough to be honest,” Moa said on Monday.
“I think if the Sharks played like how they did against us every week they’d certainly be up in the top four.
“They certainly came out a lot more focused than us and they obviously wanted to win a lot more.
“It’s going to be a tough week for us heading into the Warriors game.”
It was only six days ago that the Roosters rediscovered their reputation as genuine title contenders thanks to their 24-2 demolition job of Melbourne at Allianz Stadium.
But they’ll face an uphill battle to bounce back given they face the Warriors in Auckland on Saturday without as many as five State of Origin players.
Utility Mitchell Aubusson conceded the team had been focused more on their own game during the week and perhaps not enough on that of their opposition.
But he disagreed with Robinson’s opinion that some players had been too busy patting themselves on the back following a season-best effort over the Storm.
“Talking to the boys it’s not really much about that,” Aubusson said.
“It was a quick turnaround for us, and we had to aim up and we missed our spot on the weekend.”
Moa said he thought the Sharks were lifted by the long-awaited return of their skipper Gallen.
Despite being sidelined with a hip injury for the last two months, Gallen played 74 minutes for the Sharks and ran for a total of 247 metres – more than anyone else in the game.
The 33-year-old left the field unscathed in a sure sign NSW coach Laurie Daley will recall his enigmatic Blues captain for State of Origin II.
“He’s a tremendous player for the Sharks,” Moa said.
“He came back and it was unbelievable what he did for them.
“You can just see how much they feed off him when he runs the ball, and when he’s out there putting his body on the line they certainly shift a few gears.
“He’s a very tough player … mentally he’s a very tough person.”