Roosters downplay NRL premiership talk

Steve Zemek

The Sydney Roosters have dismissed suggestions they're NRL premiership favourites despite grinding down rival heavyweights South Sydney with an inspired defensive display.

The Roosters' 18-14 win over the Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium on Friday was at times dour however it reinforced their status as the competition's best defensive team.

The Roosters have provisionally jumped over the Rabbitohs into top spot on the ladder - though Melbourne can once again move ahead when they take on arch-rivals Cronulla on Sunday.

Trent Robinson's side have not been in top spot all year - they were eighth after round eight and have been building ever since.

Their only loss in their last 10 games came against the Storm - and it took a 79th minute Cameron Smith field goal to decide that game.

After a slow start, the Roosters are showing signs of peaking at the right time.

But with three games to play before the finals, Robinson dismissed suggestions his men were the team to beat.

"No, you can't change within a night," Robinson said.

"We haven't been there all year.

"Also, it's insignificant.

"(Premiership favouritism) has changed three weeks in a row hasn't it? Within eight days we've had three."

With a new-look spine upon the arrival of Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco, it was always going to take time for the Roosters to find their feet this year.

And after urging patience earlier in the year, Robinson said he was starting to see his side's hard work come to fruition.

"We are where we want to be, we probably would have liked to have been there earlier in the season," Robinson said.

"But we are where we want to be now and are getting better."

He also sent a warning to the rest of the competition by declaring the Roosters weren't yet the finished product.

"There is room for improvement, we're not done yet," Robinson said.

"It's a long way left in the competition.

"I'm really proud with the way we were pretty public with what we needed to do to change.

"We had to change. It was pretty simple, we had to change and we did. We've progressed since then."