Guerra puts halves on notice
Forced to spend the first week of the finals on the sidelines through suspension, Roosters back row enforcer Aidan Guerra decided to make up for lost time against North Queensland in the reigning premiers’ 31-30 win on Friday night.
Giving himself the task of trying to contain Queensland teammate and influential halfback Johnathan Thurston, Guerra found himself popping up everywhere across the paddock constantly reminding the Cowboys playmaker that he wasn't going anywhere by attempting to shut down Thurston's kicking game.
In a move that would have caught the eye of coach Trent Robinson, Guerra has demonstrated enough to put Rabbitohs halves Luke Keary and Adam Reynolds on notice when the traditional rivals shape up for the mouth-watering finals clash on Friday night.
As for Thurston, Guerra insisted it was a matter of limiting the representative star’s impact.
"We did a job on [Thurston] early but that wasn't enough. We switched off there and you can't do that against a player of that quality with a team of that quality behind him," Guerra said.
"They scored a lot of points off kicks earlier on in their run and the field position game, we were losing when I came on in the second half. A big factor of that was [Thurston's] kicking game and his ability to get a good kick away.
“I thought if I could do everything I could to nullify his ability to get a good kick that would help in our favour in terms of winning that arm-wrestle.
"I was just in the right place at the right time I think. There were a few kick pressures I missed earlier on in the game and I was trying to make amends from that."
With the Roosters scoring a point a minute to earn a 30-0 lead midway through the first half, the Cowboys clawed their way back into it to equal the ledger at 30-all, Guerra taking the Roosters’ ability to halt North Queensland's momentum as the main positive to come from the game.
"It was a weird one that's for sure. I've never been involved in a game like that where the momentum swung so abruptly and from there full credit to us for being able to hold off the momentum the Cowboys had. They were coming home strong and we held on tight," Guerra said.
"That's the thing we have to learn from that lapse that we had and try and make sure it doesn't happen again, but there's definitely a belief there now that if we feel the momentum is against us [all we have to do] is get back to what we do and we will be right."
With the Tricolours’ desire for a second straight premiership burning deep, Guerra believes that while they have taken a different path throughout the finals in 2014, the players are far from unsettled.
"We were in a tussle against the Panthers last week, we lost that, we were in a tussle with the Cowboys and got away with it so we're obviously expecting a fight against Souths and we'll be ready for it," Guerra said.
"We still have a job to do and it is up to us to step up to the task."