Roosters want to be more than 'spoilers'
Barring a minor miracle, the Roosters will not feature in the 2016 finals series.
But that doesn't mean they've given up on the season at hand.
Most teams ranked near the bottom of the table at this stage of the year would be happy to embrace the "nuisance value" tag, but that's not the case when you've won the last three minor premierships.
Sitting in 15th spot on the Telstra Premiership ladder with just three wins to their name after the opening 19 rounds, the Tricolours are adamant they want to finish as strongly as if they were still in the hunt for a finals berth.
The Roosters' draw for the remainder of 2016 sees them take on sides either vying for the minor premiership, jostling for a top-four finish or battling to break into the top eight, in effect setting up their own virtual finals series for the next two months.
Speaking to NRL.com, Roosters prop Sam Moa said the onus for the rest of the year was on taking it to the top teams rather than trying to derail their finals fortunes.
"I wouldn't say that we want to be spoilers, but what I would say is that we look forward to playing the best teams," Moa said.
"It's a part of the season that we really enjoy as a club.
"Now that the roles are reserved, we're not looking to spoil it for teams, but we're looking to play against the very best teams. We love these challenges.
"If we can spoil their momentum or get a few wins on the board then so be it, but our focus is on us and finishing the year strong."
Having just played the table-topping Sharks, the Roosters now turn their attention to the second-placed Melbourne Storm before hosting the Broncos in Round 21.
The Tricolours then play the 2015 premiers North Queensland in Round 23, and finish the season with away trips to Cronulla and Brisbane.
Most teams would find the next seven weeks daunting, but Moa said it was something the club had been looking forward to since January.
"When we started the year, we had a look at the draw and we addressed this particular period as something that was really exciting for us," he said.
"We love playing against the best teams because it brings out the best in you as a player. There's a reason why these teams are at the top, and it means we have to bring our best to match it with them."
Fellow Roosters forward Dylan Napa shared his teammate's sentiments, reiterating how important the next two months would be for the club's prospects going forward.
"Coming off a loss against the Sharks, and then games against Melbourne and the Broncos will be tough, but we're looking forward to it," he told NRL.com.
"We're not too worried about where other teams are on the ladder. We're just worried about ourselves at the moment and making sure we can finish 2016 on a high.
"Coming up against the best teams in the competition will really test our character, but that's what we want at this stage of the season.
"It's easy to shy away from the big games, especially in the position we're in, but we feel we've got the players and the structure to really go after these teams and match it with them."
This article first appeared on NRL.CO