Sydney Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was not about to make the same mistake and call out the Burgess boys, just as he famously did with rival Jason Taumalolo on the eve of last year's preliminary final.
Waerea-Hargreaves's pre-match words came back to haunt him when the North Queensland wrecking ball terrorised the Roosters prop and his flame-haired mate Dylan Napa in the corresponding match at Allianz Stadium.
Mouth shut: Jared Waerea-Hargreaves won’t be calling out the Burgess brothers this week.
The performance was so poor the pair were criticised by Roosters favourite and NSW coach Brad Fittler who said, "they just weren't in the game".
"They ran for 86m and 57m, they just weren't in the game, there was no aggression, they weren't coming off the line, and I didn't see them take it to the Cowboys at all," Fittler said at the time.
Fast forward 12 months and Waerea-Hargreaves was entitled to kick up a stink about South Sydney's English brothers – Sam, George and Tom – especially given it was George's knees that caught him late and cracked two ribs the last time they clashed.
But the Kiwi hardman is happy for his actions to do the talking. He was busy against Cronulla a fortnight ago with 17 runs for 165m.
Sio Siua Taukeiaho has been named to partner Waerea-Hargreaves up front and was nervous about running on his ankle for the first time at training on Tuesday.
Taukeiaho only lasted a couple of minutes before he was forced from the field against the Sharks, and was grateful the week off had helped him prepare for Souths.
The Tongan powerhouse was also happy to put his hand up to play the role of the suspended Napa and try to keep the Burgess boys quiet.
"They're such strong players, you can't give them much space otherwise they'll demolish the middle," Taukeiaho said.
Waerea-Hargreaves was asked countless times about the stinging criticism after the Taumalolo towel-up, and told Fairfax Media on Tuesday he had moved on.
"I think we're a completely different team to what we were 12 months ago, we've learned from our mistakes and we're looking forward to the challenge," Waerea-Hargreaves said. "It was disappointing to end the way we did, it was a do-or-die game, it was disappointing. We've had our ups and downs and we've learned as a forward unit what to do and what to keep doing."
Working hard: Sio Siua Taukeiaho is hopeful but not 100 per cent he’ll be fit to face the Rabbitohs.
Waerea-Hargreaves has been forced to step up since Napa succumbed to injury and then suspension. Napa continues to train the house down ahead of his anticipated return in the grand final should the Roosters advance.
Taukeiaho said the week off had allowed him to focus on treating his dodgy ankle, which he tested out with a series of sprint drills at Allianz Stadium.
"I'm confident I'll play," Taukeiaho said. "I'd rather someone who is fit and 100 per cent if I'm only feeling 80 per cent. It's a do-or-die game. The week off allowed me to get a lot of treatment and physio. The swelling has gone down and it's about getting out on the field and changing direction and doing some speed work. I'm a little nervous because today will be my first day running since the Sharks game, but I'm confident mentally."
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