According to Mitchell Pearce, it’s the lull the Sydney Roosters had to have, and he sees no greater motivation than arch-rivals South Sydney to snap them back into NRL premiership-winning form.
The Roosters go into Friday night’s minor premiership-deciding derby having lost back-to-back game for the first time this season – a worrying dip in form when serious title contenders want to be building momentum.
Pearce admitted the timing was not ideal, but pointed to similar down periods for the Roosters’ title rivals as evidence that the slump was not necessarily terminal.
The Storm lost four of five games during State of Origin, Souths lost three of four when Greg Inglis went down with a knee injury while Manly won only one of six games amid a tough mid-year stretch.
“Sometimes when you have a couple of losses and get a bit of criticism, you start working a bit harder,” Pearce said.
“It’s funny how it works but we haven’t really had too many lows this year and, in saying that, Manly, Melbourne and Souths have had a couple of down periods where we’ve been pretty smooth sailing.
“It’s probably not the best time to have it at this time of the year, from the outside perspective, but inside we feel like we’re ready to go.
“It’s definitely doable (turning it around) … we don’t think there’s too much in it.
“It’s just a matter of a bit of adjustment and realising what we’re about, and no better place to try and turn that around on Friday.”
And if complacency was an issue in past weeks, that should not be a problem before a bumper crowd and with top spot on the line.
“We probably should have won the game (against Gold Coast) and there were a couple of areas that were uncharacteristic of us this year,” Pearce said.
“A fair bit of that was in defence which is something we haven’t done this year.
“That’s a little bit of a negative sign but we’re trying to take it as a positive and a bit of a wake-up call.
“And there’s no bigger test against Souths this week, especially with their backline with (Greg) Inglis out the back – we’re going to have to be on in defence.”