Set to become the Club's fifth most-capped player, forward enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has expressed his pride not only in his personal milestone but in the Club's display of resilience in recent weeks.
With his 250th match in the famous Tricolours coming up this Thursday night, the 32-year-old front rower reminisced fondly on his 12-year-career at Bondi but quickly turned his attention to the Roosters' all-important match against the Parramatta Eels, which very well could determine their final position heading into the finals.
“It’s definitely one of the proudest milestones of my career,” he stated.
“I came here to the Club as a 19-year-old not knowing what the future held for me. I’m really proud and honoured to represent such a prestigious Club in the Sydney Roosters and to be a leader of this Club and a captain of this Club, I’m really really honoured.
“I can’t thank the board, Nick Politis and Robbo (Trent Robinson) enough for believing in me. The least I can do is go out and honour them in a strong performance this weekend.
“We’re not too concerned about our ladder position at the moment, it’s more about our team performance. We’ve had a couple of six-day turnarounds and it will be nice to go up to Mackay and perform against Parramatta.
Round 20 Media - Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
“We played them about six weeks ago out at Bankwest and it was a very physical game, there’s no doubt that it will be another one on Thursday night for sure.
“We speak about mindset and we just want to work hard. Talking about it throughout the week but then delivering on the field is a separate thing. It’s really pleasing and I’m proud of the way we’ve been performing but I think there’s still a long way to go for sure."
A three-time Premiership-winner, a New Zealand international and a Māori All-Stars representative, Waerea-Hargreaves has played among some of the best in the NRL but says that the current squad at the Roosters has proven to be one of the most exciting - particularly with the rise of a number of exciting young up and comers.
“You lose so many experienced players throughout the year but there’s a belief amongst our squad, the system and the work ethic that we see from our coaches all the way through," he explained.
“We’ve got a group of about eight players that don’t play each week but they’re out there - they’re working their backsides off every single day and we see it. Today we just did a bit of a flush run, and they’re off running to the side working hard and I think that’s what it’s about.
“It’s sharing the love, sharing the load and working hard for each other. It showed against the Newcastle Knights on the weekend, it showed against the Cowboys the week before and everyone’s willing to dig deep for each other.
“The last two weeks have probably been a pretty key indicator of how proud we are of each other and the effort that we’ve gone through, not only as a playing group but as a Club.
“The things that we’re willing to do for each other is pretty remarkable. I’m really proud to be here and I’m really happy and I’m looking forward to getting the families here.
I came here to the Club as a 19-year-old not knowing what the future held for me. I’m really proud and honoured to represent such a prestigious Club in the Sydney Roosters and to be a leader of this Club, a captain of this Club, I’m really really honoured.Jared Waerea-Hargreaves On his 250th match in Red, White and Blue
“The belief that we instil in each other is massive as well. You’ve got a guy like Egan Butcher who comes in and hasn’t played much footy but you instil that belief in him and the confidence that can do and the way he goes and backs up another performance like he did on the weekend, you end up performing well.
“It doesn’t really matter, the injuries or what position you play in, you’ve still got a job to do and that’s what we expect from each other."
Now in their third week in the NRL's southeast Queensland bubble, the Roosters' forward leader has been impressed with the Club's handling of their current situation, particularly under the adversity they have been placed under.
“We’ve settled in nicely and everyone’s enjoying themselves," he said.
“It’s a really nice setup here at Twin Waters. We’re lucky enough to have a lot of space among the teams. We’re finding our feet and enjoying some good weather and some hard training.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to play a tough game against the Cowboys in the circumstances that we were in and performing in those conditions and getting the result.
"It was really pleasing to handle the last couple of weeks as we have, with the adversity that we’ve been under, losing two of our outside backs and then players playing out of position but getting the job done. Coming up against a quality side like the Knights, they stuck it to us for the first 20 minutes but we spoke about the adversity we were under.
"I’m just really proud of us hanging in there and heading into half-time up by two and coming away with the result at the back end of the game. It was a tough night but really pleasing.
“Kingy (Matt King) really touched on it, it was one of the proudest times that he’s ever been involved with this Club.”
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