We've got a fair pack too: Napa
Fiery Roosters prop Dylan Napa says people focusing on Canterbury's big, powerful pack can tend to forget the Roosters have a fair pack themselves.
The Bulldogs' best wins have come when their huge forwards have laid a solid platform while the Roosters' athletic and dynamic pack was worked over by the Storm in their qualifying final loss last week.
While it's unlikely a pack containing names like Sam Moa, Boyd Cordner, Aidan Guerra, Kane Evans, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Issac Liu and Napa will be overlooked by anyone, Napa told NRL.com that himself and his pack will be aiming for a much improved effort this week.
"Everyone was pretty sore and mentally drained [after the Storm loss]," Napa said.
"It's not the ideal start to the semis but we'll live with it. We've got another challenge ahead and that's the Bulldogs. Everyone's excited and keen to prepare well."
Last time the teams met was memorable for several reasons – the Roosters coughed up a 22-0 lead to fall behind before racing home to win 38-28, for starters – but most notably a huge shoulder charge from Kane Evans on Sam Kasiano that flattened the heaviest forward in the NRL while also prompting a tightening of shoulder charge rules.
Asked how his side would go about combating the Dogs' big men this time around, Napa fired: "Everyone seems to forget we have a pretty big pack ourselves! We just have to do what's best for us and not worry too much about the Bulldogs and get back to the way we play."
The Tricolours pack will be looking to lay a better platform earlier than they did last week.
"We waited a bit too long in the game to step up. Players like Sam Moa, Siua Taukeiaho and myself as the starting middles, we really needed to be more dominant. Siua and Sam obviously played terrific on the weekend so maybe I'm just talking about myself! We need to slow that ruck down but it's finals football and it's going to be quick and we just have to combat that."
Taukeiaho was one of the side's best against the Storm, scoring a powerful try and racking up 155 metres with three tackle breaks and 26 tackles.
"Siua went beast mode, maybe I went too much in the back seat instead of sitting up front with him," Napa said.
"We've just got to win. We'll do our homework this week and see where we can exploit them.
"It's win or go home so everyone's excited. It should be a good match."
He insisted there are "no lessons" to take from the last regular season game against Des Hasler's men.
"That's long gone, we're focused on the form of late and we need to figure how we can exploit them just to get that win. That match was nearly two months ago now. We've just got to win."
Napa's teammate Blake Ferguson is playing in his first finals series since 2012 with Canberra, when he was a try scorer in a 38-16 semi final loss to the Rabbitohs, and is relishing his return to September football after a three-year hiatus.
"It's good to be back to be playing finals footy, I love it, it's do or die I guess. It's a pressure cooker. It's good to be playing in some big games I guess," Ferguson said.
Fergusson believes the side needs to get back to playing "Roosters footy" after a dour effort against the Storm last week.
"We didn't play to our standard or play the way Roosters play," he said of the loss that broke his side's 12-game winning streak.
"It was disappointing to lose. We don't look at winning streaks or how many games we won on the trot, for us it was about playing the way Roosters play and we didn't do that on the weekend.
"We didn't play as good as we want to play, we didn't go through the middle of them, we didn't play Roosters."
Prop Sam Moa said while there was an argument it may have been the loss the Roosters had to have, it still "wasn't ideal."
"Obviously we would have liked to have the week off and have the home semi but as it worked out we still get to play at home... this week's a mini grand final for us. I think we're going to have a much improved performance," Moa said.
"[Canterbury] will be extremely dangerous, everyone's been talking about them just scraping by in their games but they're an extremely talented squad and they have a lot of mongrel behind them which is always a good thing and they have the big game experience."
Moa feels the side is in a better place than it was last year, when it lost the opening week of the finals to Penrith then scraped home by a point in a memorable semi final against the Cowboys before bowing out in the grand final qualifier against the Rabbitohs.
"Physically and mentally we're in a better state than last year. We've built up some good combinations and good momentum going into the finals," Moa said.
"We took a backwards step last week but that doesn't change what we've already put in the bank and we're confident in our ability as a team and a club to move forward. [There was a] bit of adversity with the loss to Melbourne but we're confident we can turn things around and play to our potential and if we do play to our potential we it's hard for teams to match it with us and hopefully we can do that on Friday."
This article was originally published on NRL.COM