The Sydney Roosters warn Mitchell Pearce and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves won’t be a panacea for their woes and they can’t expect their returning stars to hit full flight for several weeks.
The Roosters are desperate after slumping to bottom of the NRL table with just one win from eight games but are set to receive a shot in the arm with the returns of New Zealand Test prop Waerea-Hargreaves and NSW Origin playmaker Pearce against Newcastle on Saturday night.
The return of Pearce has been overshadowed this week by the furore over coach Trent Robinson’s post-game comments which cost him a $40,000 fine but it shapes as a significant turning point in their season now they are back to full strength.
Battered by key injuries and suspensions in the first two months of the season, the Roosters have always maintained they are capable of going on long winning runs and climbing the ladder.
But back-rower Aidan Guerra said they can’t expect the inclusion of Boyd Cordner last week and Pearce and Waerea-Hargreaves this week to prove a quick fix.
“It’s not now or never,” Guerra said.
“Obviously the sooner the better. But it’s the first game back, you think about how we played in our first trial or you think about how long it takes to find your real form.
“We’re not pressuring them to come back and get man of the match, although I’m sure both of them would like to.
“We understand you can’t just rock up and set the world on fire straight away.”
Guerra said Pearce appeared like a new man after spending time in a Thailand rehabilitation clinic after his lewd Australia Day video.
“It’s been documented it’s going to be a long road but from what we’ve seen, the man that he’s come back as since that stint over in Thailand, it’s looking good for him,” Guerra said.
“We like the way he is and it’s good to have him around the club.”