Moa 'nervous' for Rabbitohs' response
Roosters prop Sam Moa's anxiety about returning from his dislocated wrist against the Sea Eagles a week ago have been replaced with nerves about how his upcoming opponents South Sydney will respond from their 35-point hammering at the hands of Brisbane last Friday.
The Rabbitohs were handed an eight-tries-to-two belting by Wayne Bennett's men, with Moa expecting a similar response to how they bounced back from their Round 22 loss to the Sea Eagles with a huge win over the Cowboys six days later.
In what was a case of the Rabbitohs' forwards standing up against the likes of Matt Scott and James Tamou at 1300SMILES Stadium, Moa is expecting much the same response from the reigning premiers.
"We have gone through [last year] what they're going through now and in regards to being the reigning premiers – everyone stepped up their game against us last season and the same is happening to Souths," Moa said.
"We have the same amount of nerves, if not more nerves, as last week before playing Manly because we know they're such a quality team. You always see them respond after a below-par performance.
"But while they played below their standards, Brisbane were extremely good and really impressive. Though on their day there isn't a harder team to play against [than the Rabbitohs] and we're expecting that on Friday night."
Asked about how opposition props George and Tom Burgess have performed this season without the presence of brother Sam, Moa said people wouldn't throw stones if the twins were running straight at them.
"I think they have had the same sort of impact [as last season] but having Sam and also Ben Te'o there it sort of allowed them to share the responsibility," Moa said.
"But now they have so much pressure put on them because the other two guys aren't there in the forward pack with them anymore.
"However it's easy for people to say how they're playing when they don't have to stand in front of them and they're running at full speed. It's a pretty hard task."
A win against the Rabbitohs will also mean the Roosters will tie up their third-straight minor premiership, not that Moa is worried about the extra $100,000 in the club's coffers.
"To be honest with you, we took more notice of our losing streak back a few months ago when we lost five in a row there than our winning streak," he said.
"The minor premiership, whilst good for the club I think it holds not much relevance for us in terms of the big picture which is the grand final."
Of the recent injuries to Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Mitchell Pearce, Moa was thankful for his timely return and the sound advice of coach Trent Robinson who recommended his troops not dwell on their teammates' injuries.
"I was just glad I got through the game without any dramas. I had the lung capacity of Eric the Eel (former Equatorial Guinea Olympic swimmer Eric Moussambani) at one stage but I'm glad I was able to get through alright. Timing-wise it worked out fine," Moa said.
"Obviously [Jared's a] huge loss for us but we made a good point about not talking about it too much because everyone who knew they had to step up did. I put a lot of ownership on myself and everyone else seemed to step up which is an encouraging sign.
"It was the same with Mitchell as well; it gave Jackson [Hastings] a lot of confidence not hearing too much about it. Jackson did a fantastic job, and it gives everyone else a chance to contribute and play their best football."