Sydney Roosters prop Sam Moa believes the defensive steel that was the trademark of their 2013 NRL premiership win has returned.
Over the last fortnight, the Roosters have assumed the mantle as the NRL’s premier defensive unit again, conceding the least points of any side – 204 points over 16 games – with eight rounds remaining.
St George Illawarra (236) and Melbourne (250) boast the next-best defensive records.
The tricolours’ work without the ball let them down last year, illustrated by their 32-22 preliminary final loss to South Sydney, in which they conceded 32 straight points.
But Moa said on Thursday the Roosters have re-found their intensity in defence as the NRL counts down to the business end of the season.
“We are getting back to that,” Moa said.
“We had that feeling after the Panthers game, just that intensity and aggressiveness in our defence, you certainly saw that in 2013.
“It is a different game now, there have been a couple of rule changes and different teams are playing different styles of football.
“But it is just more about us going back to what we do best and that is believing in our defensive structure and backing ourselves.”
The Roosters repelled set after set of Penrith attacking pressure in their 20m zone last Saturday early in the second half at Pepper Stadium that paved the way for the 24-4 win that kept them in third spot on the NRL ladder.
In 2013, the Roosters set a new record in becoming the first side ever to record six defensive shut-outs.
“We have put some attitude back in our defence and that has coincided with our return to form and hopefully that is an indication of where we need to be as a team,” Moa said.