Roosters five-eighth James Maloney says his side will be
fine without suspended enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves for its Round 5 grudge
match against the Bulldogs on Friday night.
Waerea-Hargreaves took the early plea for his high shot that
forced Manly lock Glenn Stewart out of the Round 4 Grand Final rematch after
around 20 minutes with concussion and will serve a one-match ban this weekend.
"He's a bit of a leader of our forward pack so we'll
miss him but we've got plenty of talented guys there," Maloney told media
ahead of the game.
"I think Sammy [Moa] and Frank[-Paul Nuuausala] are
playing good football, no doubt they'll step up and lead the way.
"Kane Evans and Dylan Napa have been pretty impressive
and they seem to be developing well for us."
Waerea-Hargreaves is no stranger to the judiciary, having
served a six-match ban early last year for a high shot - also against his
former club Manly - on George Rose.
"It's a week without him, we've done that quite
regularly recently. We'll be fine and we'll see him back the week after!"
The Roosters do welcome back Sonny Bill Williams from a
three match suspension for a Round 1 shoulder charge on Rabbitoh George
Burgess. He comes in as a straight swap into the 17 for Waerea-Hargreaves and
joked earlier in the week that he thought the prop should have received the
same three match punishment.
"That was very good by Sonny, I loved it. It gave me a
laugh!" Maloney said.
"I think he's very excited to get back out there with
the boys, it's great having him out there, he offers us plenty as everyone
knows. To have him back out will be great."
Asked about any extra feeling involved when Williams comes
up against his former club in the Bulldogs, Maloney said: "I don't think
Sonny reads too much into it but I suppose there are still fans [that feel
strongly about his departure from the club].
"If that's what the media drives to get a crowd it's
all good you know, it makes for a good rivalry. Hopefully we get plenty out
there and it makes a good atmosphere and we get the two points."
Maloney conceded discipline was something the side needed to
work on after being on the wrong side of an 11-2 penalty count against Manly. He
insisted, however, that it didn't cost them the game.
"Ball control and obviously the penalties both
contributed [to the loss], it makes it hard when you're doing the defensive
workload we had to do then trying to put your attack together and dropping ball
and giving them easy yards onto our line.
"It made it hard and they played well but at the end of
the day the penalties didn't cost us, it was well within our reach if we did a
few things differently."
On his own form, the incumbent Blues five-eighth said he
felt he'd been a bit quiet to start the year.
"I'm developing, I'd like to improve a few things that
I'm working on... having a bit more impact on the games and how they're turning
"I've probably been a bit quiet in a few early weeks so
that's something I've been working on."