If the Roosters had managed to get past the Rabbitohs for a Grand Final berth last Friday, the build-up to the decider would have been dominated by fiery prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves possible head-butt on Ben Te’o rather than Isaac Luke’s looming dangerous tackle suspension.
During a testy first half – with the Roosters still leading 12-6 – JWH appeared to lunge at Ben Te’o as the Souths backrower ran past after play had been pulled up.
Contact may have been minimal, but it put the Kiwi firebrand’s propensity for ill-disciplined and stupid play on display – he would have been lucky to avoid suspension given his poor judiciary record.
After a breakout 2013 campaign, Waerea-Hargreaves’ form has dropped off a little this year and he has a tough job ahead to reclaim a New Zealand Test berth, after being controversially overlooked for the Kiwis’ vastly under-strength squad in May.
Jesse and Kenny Bromwich, Ben Matulino, Suaia Matagi, Martin Taupau, Sam McKendry and club-mate Sam Moa all have strong claims to a black-and-white jumper.
Te’o, meanwhile, was outstanding in his first match back from a four-match suspension. The rugby union-bound torpedo was devastating on both sides of the ball and shapes as a key figure ahead of Souths’ watershed Grand Final appearance.