Joseph Manu is a player that thrives on the big stage, and the strike centre is looking forward to facing off against the Panthers and continuing his combination with namesake Joseph Suaalii.
Back at the Sydney Cricket Ground after three weeks away, the Roosters are primed for a big performance in front of Members and supporters look to make their eagerly-awaited homecoming.
Manu: "We Just Want to Work on Ourselves"
For the two-time Premiership winner, hosting the titleholders couldn't come at a better time.
“It’s going to be big for us,” he stated.
“We had a good game last week and we want to build on the back of that. We’re looking forward to it.
“They’ve probably been the best team in the comp at the moment but for us we want to work on ourselves.
“We’ve got a big few weeks against a few of the top sides. I think for us, we’ve just got to keep building on that and it’s exciting that we get to play these teams.
“We’ll take this game first and then take it game by game and it starts on Saturday night so it’ll be a big one for us.”
Suaalii Soars and Scores a Double
Since his injection into the side in Round 6, Joseph Suaalii has continued to improve week-in-week-out, much to the delight of his centre partner.
The two Josephs have been in fine form, combining for six tries since their partnership began against the Warriors - but Manu is far from surprised at the teenager's meteoric rise, citing his impressive work ethic and competitive spirit.
“He doesn’t surprise me," he said.
“You see some of the things he does at training, he’s a freak. It was pretty cool to see that try he scored on the weekend being right next to him.
“Those little things that people probably don’t see; those tough carries that he does, that sets him up as a good player. He’s got the skills and he’s competitive.
"We’ve been away for a week or two and he always wants to win. He doesn’t want to lose and whenever he does we always rub it in; whether it’s table tennis or basketball.
“He can be anything he wants. He has the work ethic, he works hard and listens to all the coaches and the boys.
“He obviously has a lot of years ahead of him and he can do those flash things but he can do the tough things too.”
Being in exclusive company as a Premiership winner for the Roosters, Manu was quick to praise the NRLW side on their inaugural Premiership and is looking to celebrate their milestone on Saturday night before kicking off proceedings.
“It’s awesome to celebrate them and the season that they had,” he said.
“It’s the first comp for the Roosters and we watched that game. It was exciting for us to see them win.
“It’ll be nice for them and it’ll also be really nice for us.”