Sydney Roosters firebrand Dylan Napa believes the departure of a number of key players over the summer has played a huge factor in the fall of the club this year.
With eight games to go in the regular season, a line can be drawn through the 2013 premiers should they succumb to a fourth successive defeat in Friday’s NRL match against Parramatta.
It will the Roosters’ first failure to make the finals under coach Trent Robinson, who led them to a record three straight minor premierships over the past three years.
And Napa reckons the exit of strike weapons James Maloney, Michael Jennings and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in the off-season put a major dent in their 2016 ambitions – with the absence of the NSW five-eighth the most telling.
“(Maloney’s) that settler guy and he’s obviously a goal kicker and can slot field goals, which he’s pulled out this year for (Cronulla). It hurts to see,” Napa said.
“But that’s the decision we made as a club and we’ll be doing everything we can to get back to where we were and what our standards are.”
Napa said the club, who currently sit in 15th spot on the ladder with just three wins, are a vastly different unit to the line-up he debuted with midway through 2013.
That year, the Roosters fell one game short of a grand final.
“I walked into a pretty star-studded team and thought it was pretty easy, all glitz and glamour and it was all good for three years there,” he said.
“Obviously this year’s been one of the tough ones. But everyone’s attitude’s there and just a few young kids like myself that are going through this tough period. I think we’ll be better in the long run.”
Halfback Mitchell Pearce tried to take a positive approach to the sudden turn in fortunes.
“This year’s been really frustrating but you often learn your most in tough times,” he said.
“We’ve gone through a lot of transition this year, a lot of new players being blooded, a lot of players not being there, including myself.
“But we’ve got a strong culture around, Robbo’s a good coach and he’s always seeing the bigger picture.”