Following Monday nights win over Manly theres no questioning the importance of this weekends clash with the Cowboys for the rising Roosters, but its certainly a bigger match for one of the boys from Bondi this Saturday night.


Former Cowboy Luke ODonnell will face the last club he appeared for in the NRL, back in 2011, when he takes to the field in his new colours against former team mates and the club that helped him become a State of Origin and Test star.


ODonnell, who arrived in Bondi just in time for the 2013 season after a two-season stint in the English Super League with Huddersfield Giants, has since become an integral part of the Roosters success so far following a shaky start.


Injury and an off-field discretion saw the former Kangaroo take his seat in the stands at Allianz Stadium, rather than out on the turf, early on in the year but it didnt take him long to find his way back into Trent Robinsons 17.


Now a permanent fixture on the bench for the Roosters, ODonnell in recent weeks has shown signs of the form and toughness that made him one of the games premier forwards before his move overseas.


With 69 hit ups in just seven matches, for just under 600m, ODonnell has shown himself the perfect replacement for the big men in the middle of the field and his contribution is certainly being noticed.


In the last couple of weeks Luke has been outstanding for us and hes really stepped it up, said skipper Anthony Minichiello.


He played well last week, along with Marty Kennedy, and led us well towards the back end of the match against the Sea Eagles and we look forward to those guys leading the way for us on Saturday night.


But, with the injured Sam Moa and suspended Jared Waerea-Hagreaves now also missing for five weeks, are ODonnell and the rest up to the challenge?


Mini certainly thinks so.


Were confident in the guys who have come in as options to replace Jared [Waerea-Hargreaves] as theyve trained in our system since the start of the off-season and were as confident that they can get the job done.


But, what does ODonnell think about facing his former side?


Im excited, he said. Continuing on that I cant wait to get back up there and face the former side, hopefully in whats a big one.


In what is undoubtedly comforting for Roosters fans, ODonnell being excited usually leads to a big one and the former Cowboy will no doubt be out to show his former team mates, coaches and fans that he isnt any less of a player that left two years ago.


So, for the man who spent the majority of his career protecting Johnathan Thurston, we posted the question of how does one shut him down?


Well certainly be on our toes, with him being able to hit anyone at any time with one of those passes, but theyve also got the incumbent Aussie front-row so well have to be just as alert through the middle of the field.


Ive got just got to make sure they dont run past me, to be honest.


And, will they get any special treatment if you do latch on?


I think if one of the boys is in a tackle, I might just have to give them a bit of an extra squeeze, he said, laughing.


Well, Luke, not too tight. We need you!