Manly have promised to dish it out to Sydney Roosters agitator Jared Waerea-Hargreaves in Friday night’s grand final rematch.
The New Zealand hard man was sent-off in the corresponding NRL fixture at Brookvale Oval last year for a high shot on then Manly front rower George Rose, and the Sea Eagles are expecting Waerea-Hargreaves to once again walk a fine line.
Fired-up Sea Eagles prop Brenton Lawrence says the pain of losing to the Roosters in the grand final – and on four other occasions in 2013 – has instilled in him a life-long desperation to bring down the premiers from the eastern suburbs.
Face-to-face with Waerea-Hargreaves in the engine room, Lawrence warned that even without Anthony Watmough and Glenn Stewart, Manly’s forwards won’t be waiting for an invitation from their former teammate.
“We don’t intend on just going out there and meeting what they can put to us. We have every intention of taking it to them,” said Lawrence on Wednesday.
“I think you need to (go to another level against Waerea-Hargreaves).
“It’s an aggressive game. I’m all for it, I like it.
“Jared like any other player, if he’s coming up against his old club, you always want to get on top of them.”
Waerea-Hargreaves was suspended for five games for his hit on Rose and missed the bruising semi-final against Manly after being banned for an elbow in the round 26 win over South Sydney.
The 25-year-old admits he hasn’t toned down his aggressive approach, but is conscious of how much damage he can cause his teammates by going overboard.
“This time last year at Brookie, I really did realise that I let my team down,” Waerea-Hargreaves said.
“You learn from those mistakes. I don’t want to be in the same sort of position again.”
But that’s not to say he doesn’t still relish his bad guy tag.
“It’s the style of footy I play,” he said.
“It’s a love or hate thing with me. I’m enjoying it. I just have to continue leading from the front.”
Manly skipper Jamie Lyon hasn’t watched any of the losing grand finals he’s been a part of – 2001 with Parramatta, 2007 with Manly or last year’s loss to the Roosters.
Lawrence says he’s also avoided putting the DVD in the player, but made it clear he isn’t lacking motivation for a square-up.
“I don’t need to watch it. I was there,” he said.
“It motivates me enough knowing we played them four times as well as a trial and they beat us every time. Doesn’t matter if I’ve watched the replay or not, I’ll forever want to beat the Roosters.”
Manly co-captain Jason King has sat on the sidelines injured for the best part of two years, but earlier in the season against South Sydney the veteran front rower stepped up to the Burgess brothers – credited as a turning point in a big win for the Sea Eagles.
King is again being looked to by teammates to mix it with Waerea-Hargreaves.