Roosters seek swift return to NRL summit

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson believes his team can emerge resurgent from the wreckage of a horror 2016 NRL season.

After three straight minor premierships, Thursday’s 24-14 loss to Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium – the club’s 18th defeat of the year – ensures they’ll finish the season 15th on the ladder.

After Mitchell Pearce’s Australia Day dog drama in pre-season which resulted in an eight-week ban for the halfback, things hardly got any better for the Roosters in the opening weeks of the campaign.

With Pearce banned, the Roosters were also missing key players such as Boyd Cordner, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Dale Copley for significant stretches of the first half of the year.

The Roosters won one of their first eight matches, a run which had them all but out of finals contention before the end of April.

“We’ve got to make sure we take our lessons,” Robinson said.

“If you just brush it aside and you don’t use it you’re not going to get back up there again.

“We’re not unlucky. We don’t deserve to be there and we’ll work hard to get back there again next year.”

Despite their woes the Roosters will have plenty of talent in their squad heading into next year.

Representative players Pearce, Waerea-Hargreaves, Blake Ferguson and Cordner are all still going to be at the Tricolours in 2017.

Five-eighth Connor Watson and outside back Latrell Mitchell – who played every match in his rookie season – have emerged as young talents and the club is also bringing in Luke Keary from South Sydney and experienced fullback Michael Gordon.

“It’s been a tough and a great year,” Robinson said.

“The good thing is we’ve got some experience there that are hurting and that have stuck tough all year and we’ve got some youth that’s coming through that have played some games.”

“I’m excited about the future but we’ve got to make sure we don’t brush over why we had the year that we had as well.

“I’m hurting and excited.”

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