After the devastating news of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves’ season-ending knee problem sank in, Sydney Roosters forwards met as a group and vowed the injury wouldn’t be a death knell to the club’s NRL title hopes.
In their first match without Waerea-Hargreaves the Roosters forwards barely missed a beat in dominating Manly up front in the Tricolours’ biggest ever win at Brookvale Oval: 46-10 on Friday.
Ahead of their final round match against arch-rivals South Sydney, star rookie back-rower Siosiua Taukeiaho revealed the Roosters forwards’ had made a pact with one another in the absence of Waerea-Hargreaves.
“Once we found out it was an ACL injury, we came together and said ‘Jared is gone now for the season and we have to put our front foot forward and step up for the team’, and that has been shown,” Taukeiaho said.
“(Dylan) Napa has been playing great footy and it is great to have Sam Moa back too.
“We all know we have a responsibility now.
“Losing Jared, one of our top players and the one that leads the forwards is a big loss.
“But it is an opportunity for me and Napa and Sam Moa to step up and lead the forward pack and our team.”
Taukeiaho said NSW back-rower Boyd Cordner, who won the Roosters’ players’ player award in the win over Manly, had noticeably stepped up his efforts after the loss of Waerea-Hargreaves.
“Boyd is still young but he is one of the leaders in our team in the preparation he does and he turns up every game,” he said.
Mitchell Pearce is also sidelined until at least week one of the finals and Taukeiaho said Jackson Hastings was another youngster in the side who had shown the ability to step up and accept further responsibility when needed.