'Ice Man' proves to be Roosters' top gun
He's the unsung hero of the Roosters pack who probably slipped under everyone's radar on Friday night, but Isaac Liu's teammates and coach will tell you his opening stint went a long way to helping them edge the Broncos 24-22 in an instant classic at Allianz Stadium.
With the qualifying final there to be won in the opening quarter of the contest, Liu was comfortably the best player on the field with a whopping 122 metres in 20 minutes which included two half-breaks; the first would have led to a try had Adam Blair not chopped him down centimetres short of the line.
Liu has been a constant in the side since making his NRL debut in 2013, but it's fair to say the 26-year-old is in career best form with Liu doing enough to hold down the starting lock position since Round 18, in turn keeping representative star Sio Siua Taukeiaho on the bench.
His performance against the Broncos wasn't lost on teammate Jared Waerea-Hargreaves who said he and fellow prop Dylan Napa had one simple message for hooker Jake Friend; give the ball to Isaac.
"Both Napa and I said it in the recovery; you can see when individuals are on," Waerea-Hargreaves told NRL.com.
"Because we're a unit out there, we kept saying to Friendy 'give Isaac the ball' because he was so damaging when he was carrying the ball.
"When someone's hot like that you keep feeding him."
Friday night's effort was just reward for the softy-spoken workhorse who is regarded as the hardest trainer at the club.
"That guy works harder than anyone in the squad. He's the first in the gym and on the field, and he's definitely the last to leave. We call him 'Mr Details' because he's massive on that," Waerea-Hargreaves said.
"He's been working so hard for the past month or six weeks on his footy and he's been up there as our near-best on the field so it's a credit to him for the way he applies himself every day and it's well deserved. He's a true professional and I'm super proud of him.
"He's the man; he's a full-time professional, he's an absolute professional, quietly-spoken, respectful and humble and it's a real credit to him the way that he conducts himself."
Roosters coach Trent Robinson wasn't afraid to heap praise on his lock forward.
"He's been in that form for probably a couple of months, but that was his best start. He's actually been starting really well and it's hard to keep Siua out of the starting spot, but 'Ice', as we call him, has," Robinson said.
"Boyd (Roosters captain Boyd Cordner) and I sort of chatted about him at the start of the week and then we both got the chance to talk to him, about how well he's been going.
"I tell him that, but Boyd as a captain told him what he means to our team and he delivered again."