Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson knows it’s not rocket science that his beleaguered side must stop Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to have any hope of climbing off the bottom of the NRL ladder.
The winless Tricolours are still ruing Tuivasa-Sheck’s off-season defection from Bondi to the Warriors and hoping to avoid another reminder of what they’ve let go in Gosford on Sunday.
The NRL’s record-breaking metre-eater in 2015, Tuivasa-Sheck will clash with his old teammates for the first time since walking out on the Roosters and coach Robinson admits the dynamic fullback looms as a huge threat at Central Coast Stadium.
“Roger was a key player for us for a few years,” Robinson said on Saturday.
“He’s obviously playing for New Zealand (the Warriors). He’s got good friends here but it’s footy tomorrow.
“We know what Roger’s strengths are. He’s a big-time player coming into his own in New Zealand and we’ve got to play well to stop that.”
Already needing to rewrite history to win the competition after losing their first four games of the season, the Roosters are looking more immediately to avoid their first six-game losing streak since their 2009 wooden spoon campaign.
But after snapping their own depressing 11-match losing streak last week, the Warriors are intent on extending the Roosters’ sorry run.
And it’s not just Tuivasa-Sheck they’ll need to stop.
The Roosters should also brace themselves for backlash from hooker Issac Luke after the Warriors’ under-performing off-season signing copped a blast from coach Andrew McFadden during the week.
Admitting Luke had arrived in Auckland from South Sydney in poor physical condition, McFadden was also less than impressed to learn of the Kiwi Test star’s prickly demeanor towards the media when asked to explain his below-par form.
“That’s unacceptable behaviour from a senior player,” McFadden told Radio Sport.
STATS THAT MATTER
* The Warriors have dominated this fixture in recent times, winning four of the past five clashes.
* The Roosters’ diabolical start to 2016 is illustrated in the for-and-against column, with the winners of the past three minor premierships possessing the worst attacking record and second-worst defensive stats in the NRL.
* The Warriors are aiming for back-to-back wins after ending an 11-game losing streak – stretching back to July last year – with a 40-18 demolition of Newcastle last round.