Dan Walsh, Staff Writer, NRL.com
The Sharks have had plenty of practice at putting aside off-field distractions when it comes to game time over the last two seasons, and the Roosters are expecting nothing different from them when the two clubs clash this Saturday night at Allianz Stadium.
Despite rumours of sacked Dragons coach Steve Price stepping into the void created by Peter Sharp's resignation on Monday, the Sharks at present do not have a head coach leading into the Round 17 fixture, and the club's Under-20s mentor James Shepherd has taken the reins until an interim coach can be confirmed.
The past week, in which star five-eighth Todd Carney was also been shown the door after a lewd image of him went viral, has turned their already dismal season into the stuff of nightmares, though the Sharks have performed admirably under intense scrutiny in the past, shrugging off the ongoing ASADA investigation last year to make finish two games short of the 2013 decider.
Roosters forward Frank-Paul Nu'uausala said that while the players will have been shaken by the dramas enveloping the club, he anticipated a strong showing from the Sharks come Saturday as the playing field offers a welcome break from their off-field woes.
"I expect them to come out and play a tough game as they always do and have in the last couple of games we've played against them," said Nu'uausala.
"They always give us a good go and they always compete and I reckon the Sharks will put it behind them for the 80 minutes and just play their footy."
The Roosters themselves are well-versed when it comes to heavy media scrutiny in regards to player behaviour, with Nu'uausala stood down by the club in 2011 alongside former teammates Nate Myles and Carney after they broke a team imposed booze-ban, an incident that resulted in Carney being released from the final year of his contract with the Tricolours.
"I've been in that situation, I've been at the Roosters for a while and in 2009 and 2011 we had a couple of incidents," said Nu'uasala.
"But it's just pride in your club, teammates and the fans so I reckon they'll play for pride and play for themselves and for Toddy."
Nu'uasala said he had not spoken to Carney since he was sacked by the Sharks on Sunday evening, but admit his own indiscretion had taught him a valuable lesson about the scrutiny players find themselves under living in the public eye.
"You've got to stay clean... Even though we don't like the spotlight, we're role models for the kids out there and role models for the game," said Nu'uasala.
"I just don't want to embarrass my family again like when I did with Toddy and Nate it was just embarrassing.
"It brought bad attention and pressure on the club and my family and I don't want to put them through that again."
Roosters winger Roger Tuivasa-Sheck acknowledged the loss of Carney, as well as Origin representatives Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis, made the Sharks a difficult opponent to prepare for as the premiers look to bounce back from their last-start loss to Manly.
"Our coaches came up to us and said 'we don't know what to expect from the Sharks', so we've just got to back to us and work on our game and make sure that we come up with the right strategy," said Tuivasa-Sheck.
"We had some good wins before that and had the momentum and we thought everything was back on track and moving good.
"But we eased off the pedal and Manly caught us... the efforts from the boys were too casual at times and we just didn't execute right.
"So this week's been all about details, and we just want to get back to that perfect game where we're not taking shortcuts."