After a performance by his team which was at odds with what most expected, Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson showed he could follow suit. One of league’s most affable coaches was cranky.

”It hasn’t been good. It definitely hasn’t been up to standard. We’re about to find out how good we are,” Robinson said, at probably his most expansive following the Roosters’ 30-22 loss to Gold Coast, which leaves his side approaching the showdown for the minor premiership – against South Sydney on Friday night – on the back of two straight defeats.

They will also do so with the prospect of losing players for the contest. Prop Sam Moa was placed on report for a 54th minute shoulder charge on Titans co-captain Nate Myles, while winger Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was on crutches as he left Allianz Stadium as a result of an ankle injury. Roosters officials were adamant that he was given the crutches as a precaution.

Yet their form is their biggest concern. The Roosters have now lost two matches for the first time this season – approaching their biggest match this year, the play-off for top spot at ANZ Stadium.

Some felt the Roosters’ performance against Gold Coast was a sign they already had one eye on the clash with the Rabbitohs, yet Robinson was having none of that. ”I don’t think we did,” Robinson said. ”I certainly don’t think we did.” Yet Robinson was adamant that the Roosters were capable of turning their form around in time to face the Rabbitohs.

”We’ve got to go out to ANZ and play some of our best footy,” Robinson said.

”It’s going to take some repair and some hard work in the next five days.”

Halfback Mitchell Pearce said he expected a State of Origin intensity to Friday night’s match, which is expected to be played in front of a crowd of between 40,000 and 45,000.

”This isn’t going to kill us,” Pearce said. ”It’s certainly a big wake-up call. We need to get it going. The motivation’s going to be there. That’s the big thing. We’ve just got to bring a lot of energy. It’s not that we can’t do it.

”We’re just playing a bit scattered at the moment. It’s a massive test for us on Friday.

”It’s a top-of-the-table clash. It’s going to see where we’re at. If we turn up with that sort of defence, and that many errors, it’s going to be a long night. That’s not good for your confidence going into the first week of the finals.”

The Roosters’ defence will be Robinson’s biggest concern. The competition’s best defensive outfit this season has all of a sudden conceded 62 points in the past two rounds. ”We’ve worked hard on our defence and the small things in the game, and we haven’t worked as hard in the last couple of weeks, to put it simply,” Robinson said.

Pearce, though, was equally adamant that the team’s fortunes could be turned around in five days. ”Our defence has been great all year,” he said. ”We’ve dropped our standards a bit. I don’t know why. It hasn’t been up to scratch. It’s the best defence in the comp, statistically, and we haven’t been living up to that. We’ve definitely been talking about it. It’s just a matter of doing it now. There’s no second chances coming up.

”But it’s not dire straits. We’ve got a big test on Friday. All will be forgotten if we win that.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.