With a number of changes made to the Sydney Roosters' line up this week, young backrowers Nat Butcher and Sitili Tupouniua say they are excited to challenge an experienced Wests Tigers forward pack, and expressed their belief in the depth and versatility of the squad to shine on Sunday afternoon.
Named at second row on the left edge, Butcher admitted his excitement in coming into the starting side, and is looking forward to ripping in alongside the likes of Daniel Tupou, Josh Morris and Lachlan Lam.
“I’m pretty pumped for it to be honest with you," Butcher said.
"Second row I’ve played a couple of times each year, and having that connection with Lammy (Lachlan Lam), we’ve played a lot together through the system here at the Club. It’s something I’m looking forward to.
It’s always important we talk about our 30-man squad not being just about the top seventeen. It’s all about having that next-man-up mentality.Sitili Tupouniua Roosters Second Rower
Despite some notable omissions to the site, the 23-year-old says the squad still has the depth and confidence to take on a Tigers forward pack with international and Origin experience.
“It’s a bit of a challenge losing our leader in Jake Friend and having Angus out as well as Adam Keighran," Butcher said.
“It’s not ideal to see in Round 2 but we’ve got a great depth in our squad and we’re looking forward to the Tigers this week.
“The Tigers are a great team and well-coached under Madge (Michael Maguire). Their forwards really get them going in (James) Tamou and (Joe) Ofahengaue but this week we’re focused on us, our ability and what we can do."
Fellow second rower Sitili Tupouniua - a try-scorer in the Roosters' big win against Manly - acknowledged the coaching staff for their preparations for a faster game heading into Round 1.
"It was a good first hit-out," Tupouniua said of the 46-4 victory.
"I was a bit tired afterwards, but thanks to our pre-season I felt pretty good out there with my teammates and building those combinations.
“The coaching staff used the whole pre-season to help us adapt to those rules, and it felt like it’s worked well so far."
Round 2 Media - Nat Butcher
Tupouniua echoed Butcher's sentiments regarding the squad's depth, citing the 'next-man-up' mentality that has been embedded in the Club's ethos, and put his confidence in Freddy Lussick to come into the hooking role.
“It’s always important we talk about our 30-man squad not being just about the top seventeen. It’s all about having that next-man-up mentality," he said.
“He’s (Lussick) been in the system for a while now. I know he’s been itching to play, he gets his chance this week and I know he’ll do us proud. I know whoever gets called up will be ready, and I’m confident in all of the boys.
“Every week I’m trying to have an impact on the team no matter who is in or who is out. I’m ready to go.
“They’ve got a good forward pack, but we’ll focus on ourselves this week and we’ll put our best foot forward."
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