Sydney Roosters would be finals-bound if they had managed to field their full contingent of players for most of the NRL season, according to Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan.
The Roosters have been one of the season’s big disappointments, but only fielded a full strength side for the first time this year in their round 19 loss to the Sharks on Monday night.
The Tricolours have been hit hard by injury and suspension, but their poor form this season has also been blamed on the off-season departures of James Maloney, Michael Jennings and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
Premiership frontrunners Cronulla were pressed hard by the Tricolours before clinching a 32-20 win and Flanagan believes the Roosters are a side capable of featuring at the business end of the season if things had been different.
“The Roosters are a good footy side and they played well against us,” Flanagan said
“If they had have had that team together all year they would have been playing semi finals.
“They are big, they are powerful, Mitchell (Pearce), if they had him there all year they would have been playing semi finals.
“It is probably a real good warning to the whole game that you need your best players on the field and the Roosters are a classic example of not having their best players, especially at the start of the season.”
Pearce missed the first eight matches of the season due to a disciplinary suspension. Star forwards Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Boyd Cordner have also missed a large chunk of the season due to injury.
However, Robinson was in no mood for introspection as the second last-placed Roosters (3-14) suffered another defeat to the Sharks (15-2), who secured their 14 successive win.
“It is hard to reflect at the moment on what would have happened,” Robinson said.
“It is funny. I feel like we are a really confident team but we look like we lack some confidence each time we play. We really enjoy training and playing and we enjoy each other’s company and we are doing some really good work.
“But it is not paying off at the moment. If we keep going we will.I feel that was a really good start but we better tidy up some stuff quickly.”