Sydney Roosters hooker Sam Verrills is champing at the bit to take on the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and claim the inaugural Gotcha4Life Cup this Thursday night.
Not only will the young rake be looking to claim the all-important win as eighth place takes on ninth on the competition ladder, but the inaugural Gotcha4Life Cup signals both clubs playing for a greater cause.
Verrills: "It Only Makes You More Hungry To Win"
That of course is the awareness around mental fitness and wellbeing in the goal of zero suicides, a cause that is close to Verrills' heart having lost his brother at a young age.
The Gotcha4Life Ambassador can't wait to take the field for what is expected to be a thriller between two close rivals.
“Yeah it’s awesome,” Verrills beamed.
“What Gotcha4Life is doing here for mental fitness is massive. To be able to play a game against Manly for the cup is very special for me personally.
“Every game you’re focused on that win. You play finals games, these types of games are special in their own way, and it only makes you more hungry to win.
“Manly are desperate to get back into the top eight and we want to hold that eighth place and go even higher.
“I’m sure there will be a big crowd there on Thursday cheering Manly on, but we can’t wait to get out there and put on a real Roosters performance. We feel like we’ve been building the past few weeks.
“It’s a very proud Club that wants to make the finals. We’re in a good position now; we’re inside the eight, so it’s up to us to keep going forward and play our best footy.
“We’re both looking for a win so it should be a good game on Thursday night.”
Off the back of two high-scoring matches and having played the entirety of both, Verrills has been in a hot streak of form following a stint on the sidelines through the middle of the season.
The 2019 Premiership-winning no.9 says that he is looking forward to adding another to his name this Thursday night in the all-important clash.
Worland: "It's About Being Open To These Types Of Discussions"
“It’s been good,” he said.
“It’s been two weeks in a row now I’ve played the full game. I see myself as an 80-minute hooker and to finally be able to get out there on the field with my teammates, it’s the best job in the world.
“I’m just trying to do my best for the team at the moment and we need to win games. I’m putting my best foot forward and having a strong push towards the finals.
They all listened and they all understand now the difference it will make on Thursday night, the money being raised and how we can all help each other reach zero suicides.Gus Worland Gotcha4Life Founder
“When we get there, it’s about playing a good brand of Roosters footy like we do every year and it’s a good test against Manly.
“I’m looking forward to hopefully get another 80 minutes in and get another win.”
Gotcha4Life founder and Roosters tragic Gus Worland was a special guest at the Club last Sunday afternoon, where he took time out to speak to the playing group about Gotcha4Life's cause.
The media personality admitted that it was arguably his toughest public speaking presentation, but was one that held plenty of importance, particularly around building mental fitness both on and off the field.
Worland also made a special mention of the Club’s Platinum Partner Unibet, who not only will forego their jersey place for the Gotcha4Life logo this week, but have also donated $100,000 to the cause.
“I can’t wait for Thursday night,” Worland said.
“I had the idea a couple of years ago and then Manly came on board, the Roosters came on board and it’s all about building mental fitness.
“I’ve been a Roosters supporter all my life and it’s an opportunity for both clubs - the area that I live in Manly and the team that I love - to go for. We’ve already had $200,000 in donations from Shaw & Partners and Unibet.
“I love those boys so much. I don’t know them very well, I know them off the telly and know them obviously being stars of playing Rugby League, but I was nervous. It was probably the hardest chat I’ve ever had to have.
“They all listened and they all understand now the difference it will make on Thursday night, the money being raised and how we can all help each other reach zero suicides.
"The mental fitness workshops we will be able to fund as a result of the Gotcha4Life Cup is where you really see the impact this game can make.
“For me, it’s about having zero suicides – that’s why I started Gotcha4Life and the more money we raise means the more opportunity we get to speak to people about mental fitness and making sure that men in particular but all Australians don’t worry alone.”