8 hours ago - 4 Likes
Roosters Achieved Nothing In 2003 -
"We're in an elimination (situation) now. That's all it serves up," Stuart said after the premiers earned next weekend off with a clinical 36-8 qualifying win over Newcastle on Saturday night.
The six-tries-to-one victory improved Stuart's impeccable finals record to five wins from five matches as a premiership coach.
But the no-nonsense coach said "it's not constructive" comparing the 2003 Roosters with the class of 2002 because "they're not the same".
Gone from last year's grand final-winning team are fullback Luke Phillips, winger Brett Mullins, centre Justin Hodges - whose season came to an end during the State of Origin series - and forwards Bryan Fletcher, Simon Bonetti and Peter Cusack.
But the new-look Roosters have still managed to meet all goals set so far this season.
Stuart said the Roosters had set out to start 2003 well, unlike last year when they lost four on the trot early. They achieved that.
The premiers than aimed to be in the top two, two weeks after the Origin series. They achieved that.
Then the premiers wanted to finish the minor premiership in the top two. They achieved that.
"And obviously now we want to win the grand final," Stuart said.
"But we're just looking at it as a week at a time. The grand final seems so near, but it's so far away.
"We've already won next week now. That's the bonus of not playing next week. We've won that game, we're through it, we don't have to play.
"We don't have to worry about injuries. We can have rehab now on our injuries more so than worrying about injuries next week."
Stuart agreed with Roosters captain Brad Fittler that there were "quality teams winning football games now" and nothing could be taken for granted.
"I think it's the best season of football I've seen since I've been involved. It's very exciting," Stuart said.
"It's just such a funny competition. I think it's a very high-quality competition of rugby league.
"I love being able to go to a game - not as a coach - and not know who's going to be the winner.
Victory for the Roosters in their preliminary final in two weeks will propel the Bondi club into its third grand final in four years.