Guerra his own harshest critic
Roosters back-rower Aidan Guerra admits he has been disappointed with his club form in 2016, but is hopeful the faith shown to him by the Queensland Maroons will help turn his season around.
The 28-year-old has averaged 122 metres and around 34 tackles per game this year – far from underwhelming numbers – but Guerra believes he still has more to give.
Having played in all six matches in the past two Holden State of Origin campaigns, there were talks north of the border that Guerra's form might have kept him out of the 2016 series opener.
While he was dropped from the starting side, the Kangaroos representative was retained on the bench for Queensland's nervy 6-4 win over the Blues.
"I'm my harshest critic, and out of 11 games, I'd be happy with three or four. That wasn't good enough from me," a candid Guerra admitted.
"It was tough to take, and to have that faith put in me by the side up there in Queensland by the selectors and coaches, I wanted to repay that.
"Now that I've got that first game out of the way, I want to repay the Roosters and that's always been my focus to play well here. Sometimes things don't go the way they're planned. You can only work hard to turn that around."
Guerra was asked on Tuesday morning whether criticism from the outside leading into the series opener had played on his mind at all.
"I think all that focus was external," the Maroons interchange forward said.
"Inside the camp was just as usual and that's the good thing about being a part of something like that. There was no secret that I wasn't going that well, but my focus wasn't on myself."
Guerra certainly repaid the faith with 66 metres and 17 tackles (no misses) from his 27-minute stint at ANZ Stadium in Game One and is keen to build on that form when the series moves to Suncorp Stadium on June 22.
Having found another gear in camp with the Maroons, he hopes to take that momentum back with him to Bondi.
"There's no secret the Origin camp and that whole arena is something special and it's something I was privileged to be a part of," the 28-year-old said.
"One of my focusses was to come back to the Roosters and bring some of that positivity with me.
"When I left, things weren't really going the way we planned here. When I was away, the side worked on things here at the Roosters and I wanted to come back and add to what they had already changed."
If his most recent game is anything to go by, Guerra and the Roosters appear to be hitting their strides for a possible mid-season finals push.
Guerra made 167 metres and scored a try as the Tricolours accounted for the Tigers 32-18 in atrocious conditions despite being without Mitchell Pearce and Boyd Cordner.
According to Guerra, the key hasn’t been overhauling his game; rather, it's all been about getting back to basics.
"I don't think I've come back a different player. I just came back with a focus of playing well on the weekend and doing my role and not trying to complicate things," he said.
"It's a simple game. At the end of the day you run hard, tackle hard and don't stop, and that's pretty much all you need to do.
"I got away from that and started focussing on 'how am I going to win this game for the boys?' and then I just kept digging myself into a hole.
"As a side, you come out of things like that together. You don't try to do that individually and that was sort of the hole we fell into."
That has certainly been the case this week as the Roosters aim to make it two wins on the trot when they take on the Melbourne Storm at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.
"The focus has really been put back on the group rather than individuals," he continued.
"Obviously after the start we've had, we've needed to do a bit of looking in the mirror and seeing where we went wrong and what we need to work on and that's one thing that came out of it.
"We need to start trying to beat other sides as a team and I think we've got the side able to do that."