The one they want is still four weeks away but the Sydney Roosters believe they deserve greater plaudits after claiming their third straight NRL minor premiership.
The Roosters had already claimed the JJ Giltinan Shield – after Melbourne knocked off second-placed Brisbane the night before – but still came out of the sheds with the hunger and desire to put an exclamation point on their regular season with a 30-0 smashing of South Sydney.
The Roosters became the first team to claim three straight minor premierships in a united competition since Ron Wiley’s Manly teams of 1971-73.
Manly achieved it in 1995-97 but the last of their titles came during the Super League war while Melbourne also did it in 2006-08 but were stripped of the honours because of the salary cap scandal.
It was also a big feather in the cap of Trent Robinson who became the first coach to guide a side to a hat-trick of top spots in his first three years as a coach since Norm Provan took St George to four straight from 1962-65.
He joined some of the game’s great coaches including Bob Fulton (Manly 1995-97), Clive Churchill (South Sydney 1968-70) and Provan in achieving the feat.
Robinson said NRL fans tended to discount the minor premiership and more prominence should be given to it, like the European soccer leagues.
“I think it’s a really big rap for the club and the staff and players for their consistency,” Robinson said.
“We know we’ve got a good squad and performed to that level well over three years.
“(The minor premiership) is undervalued in our competition. It’s valued in almost every league around the world but it’s undervalued in ours.”
The Roosters have now claimed 12 straight victories and should they go undefeated in the finals series, their winning trot will extend to 15.
The competition record winning streak into a grand final stands at 11 and the Roosters will need to buck history if they want to lift the Provan-Summons Trophy on October 4.
While the Roosters’ were emphatic in their five-tries-to-one win over the Rabbitohs, Robinson wasn’t entirely impressed.
His side failed to score a point in the second half but Robinson said it was hard to complain after they ran in 30 unanswered points against a top eight opponent in the first 40 minutes.
“The second half was pretty dire, we tried a lot but we didn’t have the patience to execute it by the end,” Robinson said.
“Defence had to be strong for the whole game but we’re obviously disappointed with the chances we created.
“But 30-nil. It’s a good scoreline. I was wondering how the boys might come in and play tonight with Melbourne winning last night. But it was clear they wanted to keep improving as a footy team.”
Robinson said halfback Mitchell Pearce was at long odds to return from a hamstring injury next week.
He said Pearce would know his fate early next week and he did not expect to have his services for week 1 of the finals.
Sides who have won three or more minor premierships in a row
* Balmain: 1915-17
* South Sydney: 1925-27
* Eastern Suburbs: 1934-37
* South Sydney: 1949-51
* St George: 1956-60
* St George 1962-67
* South Sydney: 1968-70
* Manly: 1971-73
* Manly: 1995-97
* Melbourne: 2006-08 (stripped due to salary cap infringements)