‘Do it for me son’.
That is the message from Jared Waerea-Hargreaves' father who served as a military officer for New Zealand - the message comes ahead of the Roosters traditional clash with the Dragons on ANZAC Day.
The young Roosters forward has been labelled the ‘hard man’ of the Tri-Colours pack, but admits this game moves him like no other. Hargreaves gets excited and emotional when he thinks about his father and family who have served for their country.
“I have a few family members in the services, [it] gets me every year this game, it is something special for myself and family,” Hargreaves tells NRL.com.
“My father served in a few hot spots, in Cambodia, Yugoslavia, Baghdad and Iraq and stuff like that. This game is the only game each year that he says ‘do this one for me son’.
“It sort of gives me Goosebumps just talking about it.”
Hargreaves grew up with his father constantly away serving for his country. There were times that he admits he was worried about his dad, but the enormity of the situation was somewhat lost on him as a kid.
The Roosters resident larrikin always believed his father would be okay.
“I was eight when he was off, but ever since I’ve been 18 he served through those years and it was tough as a child and as a kid,” Hargreaves recalled.
“He sort of didn’t really think too much about his kids. It was more the addiction and the adrenalin of the warzones, it is good to have him back and he is all retired now.
“There were a few stories that got the blood rush going. As a kid you always think that he’ll be right, looking back at it, it is pretty awesome to say that my father served for his country and for other countries.
It is why this game will always have special significance for Hargreaves. When the two teams line up at Allianz Stadium embraced shoulder to shoulder with their teammates, and a soft silence falls gently across the ground, when the Last Post pierces the silence, Hargreaves will reflect.
The big 108kg prop from New Zealand will be thinking about his dad.
“With the old veterans going around the field before kick-off, when we are out there hearing the last post, it is something pretty special,” he says.
“We haven’t won one since I’ve been at the club, I think it has been about five years since the club has actually won one, there are a few new faces around the club and we’ll be doing our best and trying to get that win.
“It would be a privilege and honour to get that medal and to win the game.”
A privilege and an honour, to do it for dad.
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