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Roosters centre Joseph Manu.

Farewells are always hard and Joseph Manu is not looking forward one bit to losing his wingman and roommate Blake Ferguson.

The pair own the Roosters' right edge with 19 tries between them along with 21 line breaks.

To be that effective, the two players spend a lot of time talking tactics, trying new moves.

"It takes a lot of things. But training is the part we sort out a lot of things," Manu told of his combination with Ferguson.

"When we room together we get to talk about what we’ll do ahead of a game, and we watch video where we talk about what we could have done better.

"Mostly he tells me to flick him the ball when I want to and most times I see him I try to get him the ball and watch him go," he said of his teammate who tops the NRL in runs (440) and run metres (4345), eclipsing Warriors star Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

Roosters centre Joseph Manu embraces his winger Blake Ferguson.
Roosters centre Joseph Manu embraces his winger Blake Ferguson. ©Robb Cox/NRL Photos

"Blake is pretty smart on the field and knows what he wants to do," Manu said.

"There's always a sense that he's one of those wingers who is always switched on.

"What I love about him is that he's already expecting anything I'm trying to do."

That sixth sense has less than six weeks to run. Two more club games – the Broncos and Eels – and as many as four weeks of NRL finals before Ferguson heads to Parramatta. 

"We’ve talked about it a lot," Manu said.

"He wanted to stay but for certain reasons he’s decided to go. I’m proud of him for choosing what’s best for his future and family.

"But I’m going to miss him. He’s very tough and does a lot of work for us.

"He brings a lot to our team. I just want to wish him all the best but half of me wishes he wasn’t leaving."

Manu also has his own finals motivation, on top of enjoying his final weeks with Ferguson.

The 22-year-old played 16 games for the Roosters in 2017, winning 12 of them, but missed out on a spot in Trent Robinson's teams for the finals.

"This is my first NRL finals," Manu said, barely able to contain a grin.

"I’ve worked hard because it was tough last year when I didn’t get into the finals team.

"That drove me all pre-season. I’ve been working hard non-stop so I’m pretty excited to be getting into a finals game."

The young centre has an inkling of what the atmosphere might be like since he was a member of the triumphant SG Ball and Holden Cup Roosters premiership-winning sides in 2014 and 2016 respectively.

Images of Round 23

"I remember how special it was in the SG Ball and under 20s finals," he said. "I love the intensity of finals games where you see the real character of players stand up.  You see what a real player is made of and you’re proud of your teammates and yourself.

"I’ve always wanted to play in an NRL finals. I actually can’t wait. I’m very excited."

But first the Broncos and marking up on Corey Oates, who has scored 13 tries on his own alongside 17 line breaks, so will present a difficult package for the Manu-Ferguson partnership.


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