Thursday, a tick after 4pm, roughly 38,000 will fall into a spine-tingling silence at the SCG.

Wars waged over the last 100-odd years marked with reverence, gratitude and a ghostly quiet.

Three months ago, 30-odd Roosters players and staff did the same on French soil, falling into a silence that rang the best part of an hour.

All bar Jared Waerea-Hargreaves. Then Zane Tetevano. Siosiua Taukeiaho. Joey Manu and the rest of the Tricolours' Kiwi contingent.

Waerea-Hargreaves led the most memorable haka of his life, his countrymen following, goosebumps all round.

"That's a moment that I'll never forget," Waerea-Hargreaves says.

"I was walking next to Zane, and we'd gone five steps and he just goes 'let's do one'. I was right there, we all were and it was that simple.

"That was something like I've never done, it's different to the haka before going into battle or pre-game.

"The emotions, it's difficult to describe, hard to dwell on really. They built up through the morning, and you're there thinking, 'without those soldiers, we're not here doing this haka'.

Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves. ©Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/NRL Photos

"It was purely out of respect. I think it was about 10 per cent of New Zealand's population [during World War I, a little over one million] that served. That's 120,000 men and women, everyone at home would have so many people away at war.

"They went and fought for their country, for the good."

Waerea-Hargreaves, all fire and brimstone in footy boots, stunned coach Trent Robinson and his teammates into a chilling silence that day in France.

He'll be the same, just like the rest of us, when the Last Post is played just after 4pm on Anzac Day.

His mind will inevitably turn to his old man Wayne, just as it has before each of his previous eight Roosters-Dragons, April 25 outings.

The former UN peacekeeper with service records listing Iraq, Cambodia and Kosovo among nine war zones in total.

The veteran once taken hostage for 16 days by guerrilla fighters in Somalia, who "basically forced" an 18-year-old Waerea-Hargreaves onto a plane bound for Rwanda in 2008, the morning after Manly's grand final win over Melbourne.

"That was the experience of a lifetime, and dad knew that I needed something like that in my life," Waerea-Hargreaves remembers.

"Paul Osborne [then Parramatta CEO] organised it for me and guys like Nathan Hindmarsh, Todd Carney and Jarrod Hickey to go over.

"I was at Manly that year and they were going to the grand final against Melbourne.

"I was going back to dad 'but it's the GF, what if it's the one time I'm around it?'. He was just firm. 'You've got to go'.

"We flew out the day after the grand final, I missed all those celebrations and I was 18 then.

"Dad had been to Rwanda a few times, served in Africa, he said 'a kid like you, you need to go see it'."

The numbers again moved Waerea-Hargreaves. Some 800,000 slaughtered in one of human history's most horrific, senseless genocides in 1994.

The teenage prop and his NRL contemporaries were on hand to briefly help a country rebuilding well over a decade later.

"It was an amazing trip, an experience I'll never forget," he says.

"To see those things. Everything about it, I came home and told dad, 'you were right'.

"The way the locals lived, we walked the streets when we first got there and when we went to the charity, to go and do our bit and help build these houses, they just said 'righto, let's go'.

"They didn't care who we were, what we'd done, that we were NRL players - Nathan Hindmarsh, Todd Carney were big names.

"'If you're going to help, help'. That still sticks with me."

With the battlefields of France and the rebuild of Rwanda in mind, Waerea-Hargreaves is hopeful Wayne will be in the SCG stands on Thursday for what would be his first Anzac Day outing.

Match: Roosters v Dragons

Round 7 -

Full Time
Roosters

Home Team

Roosters

Scored 20 points
Dragons

Away Team

Dragons

Scored 10 points

Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network
  • Foxtel
  • LIVE PASS

"He normally likes watching on TV at home so he can replay stuff and he just does his thing at home," Waerea-Hargreaves grins.

"He goes to the dawn service and does the day his way up there in Brissie.

"My missus said on the couch last night 'this is the year, we're going to get him to the game'.

"If anyone can get him there it's her."

Over a century on from World War I, a decade since digging house footings in a Rwandan village and 17,000km from the memorials of the Somme, Waerea-Hargreaves relishes the significance of this annual Anzac Day game.

Because in the scheme of things it is thoroughly insignificant.

"I used to get really emotional in my early years," Waerea-Hargreaves says.

"I used to get blown away, the occasion of it all, because it is such a big event. It's one of the biggest games of the year and you always look forward to it so much.

"But now it's special in a different way and I look at it with even more respect and honour I think. I think about it differently.

"To see the soldiers out there, hear the Last Post, it still hits you. But it's different and a bit hard to describe to be honest."

Sometimes silence says it all.