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Wet and wild suits Waerea-Hargreaves

By Ian McCullough 08/07/2010 07:12:50 PM Comments (0)

He's stopped short of performing a rain dance, but Jared Waerea-Hargreaves admits he's desperately hoping the heavens open for Friday's NRL clash between Sydney Roosters and South Sydney.

The exciting young New Zealand prop has enjoyed a stellar start to his career with the Roosters after joining from Manly last year and is desperate to maintain that good form against Souths' mammoth pack, in what's shaping up as a mouth-watering forwards battle.

The 21-year-old locked horns with the Rabbitohs' English bookend Sam Burgess in the Four Nations last year and he's expecting a difficult night at the Sydney Football Stadium.

The pair last clashed on a wet and wild winter night in Huddersfield last November, and although the Kiwis went down 20-12, Waerea-Hargreaves said he loved every minute of the battle.

And if keeping Burgess in check wasn't hard enough, the Roosters also have to try to keep David Taylor and Roy Asotasi quiet, something the Roosters managed without an injured Waerea-Hargreaves in an impressive round one win.

"I read in a magazine that all of their forwards are over 105 to 110 kilograms," Waerea-Hargreaves told AAP.

"But we also have a fair few big boys in our side and if the rain keeps coming it is going to be a massive forwards battle.

"Being a big guy, when you are playing in the wet it is 'game on' up the middle. There is no footwork around us when we are tired and it is going to be a great battle and I can't wait."

Like Waerea-Hargreaves, Burgess has impressed in his first season in the NRL, and although the pair have a fierce rivalry on the field, the big Kiwi played down any suggestions of bad blood off it.

"I saw big Sam down in Melbourne and we had a good chat," he said.

"He had come down to watch the Four Nations. We talked about living in Australia and how he is loving it, he is a great guy.

"He is a big boy, six-foot four and 115 kilos and he is a scary sight!

"I don't think we exchanged any words on the field in England, when I was running with the ball I was trying to run away from him!

"But I really enjoyed that game even though we lost, a good forwards battle is great.

"Sam is a threat, but so is the rest of their team so we are not just concentrating on him."

The last time the two rivals both made the finals in the same season was in 1987, and Waerea-Hargreaves is looking forward to playing in front of big crowd at the SFS, something of a rare occurrence recently.

"I am told there could be around 25,000 there and that is something we are all quite excited about," he said.

"Every player wants to play in front of big crowds and if we can beat Souths then hopefully some people will come back again."

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