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For most rugby league players the prospect of facing the Sea Eagles could cause some sleepless nights, add to that facing them on a cool autumns night at Brookvale Oval with hard man Steve Matai returning from suspension, and its a scary feeling.

But try telling that to one of the NRLs toughest, Luke ODonnell.

The new Roosters recruit, who made a name for himself as a hit man throughout his first stint in the NRL, cant wait for the challenge of testing himself against one of the leagues benchmark sides.

They really do like the physical stuff and I havent played there [Brookvale] for a long time but Im pretty excited about it and just looking forward to the challenge, ODonnell said.

Since coming back into the NRL after a season with Huddersfield, ODonnell has found himself a home on the Roosters bench alongside Marty Kennedy as a replacement in the middle of the field for Trent Robinsons tiring big men, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Sam Moa.

Many suggested ODonnell would be off the pace upon his return to the games biggest stage, however after settling in the former Blues and Kangaroos forward feels like its all beginning to come together.

Its taken me a few weeks and was always going to be a bit of an adjustment, but Im starting to feel like Im back to my old self a bit more and fitting into the structures here at the Roosters.

And, what about the new found role from the bench?

Its a bit of a new role for me, coming off the bench, but I feel like Im starting to take to it.

Taking to it he is indeed, with the head coach last weekend labelling ODonnell and Waerea-Hargreaves the reason for the success through the midfield in the win over the Panthers after he was forced to step up his involvement with Moa replaced in the sixth minute through injury.

I enjoyed that last week, you know its unfortunate that Sammy got injured but i got to get a bit more game time which is handy for me.

With Marty starting, itll be a similar role for me but I enjoyed the way last week went in getting more minutes and hopefully it goes that way this week.

In just six games so far in 2013 ODonnell has taken 60 hit ups, for over 500m, and made more than 130 tackles, proving that his work rate hasnt faded the longer his career has gone on.

However next Monday ODonnell and the rest of the squad, with Moa now out due to injury, will face the biggest challenge of the season so far in a Manly side keen to continue their early season form.

Something ODonnell says they havent worried about taking too much notice of just yet, as the Tricolours are focused on just one thing this season themselves.

Weve been focusing mainly on our own games and havent looked too much at Manly this stage. We just need to get our own backyard in order.

Our defence has been working really well for us so far this season, so thatll be again a major focus for us playing against a side as dangerous as Manly. If we get that in order, hopefully everything else flows on from there.

Hopefully indeed, Luke. Bring on Brookie!
Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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