Sydney Roosters forwards Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Nat Butcher have backed the Roosters to continue to thrive in the face of adversity, and are excited to see opportunities open up for a number of younger squad members.
With Brett Morris and Lindsay Collins sidelined, the pair expressed sympathy for their fellow teammates but made it clear that the resilient Roosters are capable of overcoming adversity as they have so far in season 2021.
“They’re always hard to swallow," Waerea-Hargreaves said regarding injuries.
“You’ve got someone like B (Brett Morris) who’s given our game so much and you see him in that state, it’s tough.
“It's very emotional but at the same time, we’re very proud to see the way he handled himself. He’s got so much knowledge to give and so much experience so he’ll be around for sure.
“It was a really tough night for Linds (Lindsay Collins) and B but it gives an opportunity for a couple of other players to step in and do a job.
Round 9 Media - Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
“It’s a long year. It’s only Round 8 and there’s plenty of footy to be played so we're staying united and getting through it together.”
“It’s the sad thing about footy and these injuries, you can never predict it," Butcher added.
“We understand that’s a part of it but we’ve got great depth in our squad and we have the next man up mentality. Whoever fills the positions of Brett and Lindsay are going to do a great job.
“That’s footy and life goes on."
It’s a long year. It’s only Round 8 and there’s plenty of footy to be played so staying united and getting through it together.Jared Waerea-Hargreaves Roosters Front Rower
Showing plenty of resilience, particularly in the final ten minutes when the side was down to eleven men, Waerea-Hargreaves said there were still positives for Roosters Members and supporters to look forward to, in particular the exciting young contingent of squad members looking to make their mark in the NRL.
“It was a tough night but then to pull through the way we did, I’m really proud," he said.
"I think we were playing with eleven there in the last eight or ten minutes and to take a player over the sideline as we did with the five players turning up shows resilience in the team.
“It’s a bit of a challenge but we’ll get through it. Someone will step in this week and do a good job for us.
“It’s exciting for guys like (Matt) Ikuvalu to play more footy and Joey Suaalii to possibly get a debut. These guys are itching and they’re definitely keen to be playing some footy.
Round 9 Media - Nat Butcher
“As a leader of the Club, you need to lead from the front and be doing your job consistently. It’s about turning up every day with the right attitude and leading these guys."
Reaching a personal milestone on Saturday night, the hulking front rower is now entrenched in the top five most capped players for the Club behind Mitchell Aubusson, Anthony Minichiello, Luke Ricketson and Jake Friend, while centre Joseph Manu is set to play his 100th game against the Parramatta Eels this Friday night, all of which have been in the Red, White and Blue.
A humble Waerea-Hargreaves was quick to bring attention to his fellow countryman's achievement, while Butcher, a long-time teammate of Manu's through the Roosters pathways, expressed his pride in the milestone.
To be able to share this milestone with him is such a great accomplishment, that's something I’m proud of and I’m sure he’s excited too.Roosters Forward Nat Butcher On teammate Joseph Manu playing his 100th NRL match
“I’m really proud of the journey," Waerea-Hargreaves said.
“I’m really proud of being a part of such a prestigious organisation, but my main role here is to keep beating and doing everything I can for the team.
“You see the role that he (Manu) played for us on the weekend (playing fullback), he can play multiple positions and to play his 100th this weekend is obviously exciting for us as a group and for himself.
“He’s played some pretty good footy for us but no doubt he’ll put on another hell of a performance this week.”
“It’s such an honour to play all these games alongside Joey," Butcher said.
"To be able to share this milestone with him for what is such a great accomplishment, that's something I’m proud of and I’m sure he’s excited too."
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