Sydney Rooster spine members James Tedesco and Sam Verrills are determined to cap off teammate Isaac Liu's 200th game in Red, White and Blue with a victory against arch-rivals South Sydney this Friday night.
The Roosters and Rabbitohs rivalry will enter Queensland for the first time ever since 1908, and the top-four battle will not only be a chance for the Tricolours to test themselves against third place but to also continue their strong form up in the sunshine state according to Tedesco and Verrills.
Round 24 Media - James Tedesco
“It’s a big test for us,” Tedesco said.
“Souths are playing some really good footy at the moment and it’s a big test for us to come up against a top side.
“We had a big challenge against Penrith and we probably didn’t play our best and they got the best of us. It’s a good chance for us to redeem ourselves and still fight for that top four spot.
“It’s only a short turnaround but we’ll recover these next few days and hit the ground running on Wednesday and get ready for Friday.”
“It’s a huge game this weekend," Verrills added.
“It’ll go a long way into getting into the top four. It’s always going to be a big game no matter what the situation is between the Roosters and Rabbitohs.
“Having a few injuries, it’s hard to get those combinations and you’ve got to string those performances together, and that’s what we’re doing at the moment and at the right time of year as well.
He’s such a detailed player. He just gets the job done week-in-week-out, no questions asked. He’ll do any job that we need of him and he’ll never do anything wrong.James Tedesco On Isaac Liu
“There’s still a lot to do and it’s a good test against a pretty in-form side. We don’t like them and hopefully we can win this weekend.”
If there was any more motivation needed for the men from Bondi this week, it comes in the form of teammate Isaac Liu playing his 200th game for the Club.
The departing forward will become just the 11th player in Club history to reach the double century milestone, and his captain and hooker say they are determined to cap off the match with a victory for the man they call Ice.
“Ice is massive for us," Verrills said.
“He doesn’t get enough credit for what he should. The way he plays; the toughness he brings to the Club, it’s huge.
“He’s a player you look for in the dressing rooms before a game and you see him and you know you’re going to be safe with him. He can play lock, front row, back row and he’s a huge asset to us.
“He’s a quiet dude but once you get to know him he’s a really good man. He’s a loving man, he’s got a baby now and he’s just one of the boys.
“He’s going to be a massive loss but we’re going to enjoy every moment we’ve got with him now, and 200 games for the Roosters is huge.
“I’m happy for him and hopefully we get the win for him."
Round 24 Media - Sam Verrills
“We all love Ice,” Tedesco said.
“He’s such a detailed player. He just gets the job done week-in-week-out, no questions asked. He’ll do any job that we need of him and he’ll never do anything wrong.
“He’s always detailed in his preparation and everything that he needs to do to play his best footy. He’s definitely an underrated player for us because the amount of work he does for us, and the skill he has for a big fella is awesome.
“Two hundred games is an achievement and we’ll be looking to do everything to get the win for him this weekend."
The pair also spoke about their experience with Ronald McDonald House through the year, where the playing squad visited Randwick Children's Hospital to spend time and back the Little Legends in need - with the Steggles Charity Nest helping to raise $4.5m for Australian Charities.
There’s still a lot to do and it’s a good test against a pretty in-form side. We don’t like them and hopefully we can win this weekend.Sam Verrills On taking on the Rabbitohs
“Ronald McDonald House has been huge for us,” said Tedesco.
“We were able to go and visit them earlier in the year, but with what’s happened we haven’t been able to have that opportunity.
“But we know the Steggles Charity Nest has donated to them and helped them out as much as possible. We wanted to get some of the kids up here and obviously, we can’t, but hopefully, they’re up there supporting us.
“Hopefully we can get the win for them.”
“It was really enjoyable,” Verrills said of the experience.
“Going out there and visiting the kids there, we’ve been doing zooms up there as well. Seeing their faces when we come in to brighten their days up, it’s really rewarding to see the joy and happiness they get.
“Hopefully we’re doing them proud up here and hopefully they’re wearing their Roosters jerseys down there and supporting us.
“The reason why we play footy is to make people happy.”
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