Their 0-2 start raised questions about their premiership defence, to the point their chairman voiced his opposition to a restructured NRL season.
But the Sydney Roosters have roared back in style, with a combined 87-12 margin in their two wins since the competition restart – and co-captain Jake Friend is adamant they can maintain the rage.
“Obviously the year’s a long time, there’s 16 round games left and no breaks. It is going to be tough,” Friend said on Tuesday.
“As a player, we have full trust in the support staff, that they’ll have us firing and we’ll go and do our thing on the training paddock.
“I see no reason why we couldn’t keep it up.”
Even without an ill James Tedesco, the Roosters inflicted the heaviest defeat on Brisbane in the Broncos’ history with a 59-0 beat-up last Thursday.
Tedesco has been named to return in what is a full-strength squad for Sunday’s clash with Canterbury at Bankwest Stadium.
The game will mark the first time in almost 22 months that Friend will string together three straight matches, having endured an injury-plagued 2019.
The 30-year-old Rooster also remains determined to recapture his peak form in a bid to finally make his State of Origin debut for Queensland later this year.
“I feel brand new. I’ve been in for one and out for eight, last year was tough but to string a few games (together), I feel good,” Friend said.
“Match fitness is only going to help that.
“I’m just excited to string some games together and play plenty of footy.”
It was only a couple of weeks ago that incumbent Maroons rake Ben Hunt conceded coach Kevin Walters is likely to select players involved in the finals.
And with St George Illawarra quickly falling out of contention, odds are shortening for Friend to realise his Origin dream.
“It’s not something I’m thinking about at the moment,” he said. “I’m worrying about getting some wins on the board with the Roosters and hopefully playing plenty of footy.
“(But) it’s pretty well known that I would love to play Origin. I think every young Queensland boy would,” he said.