Left disappointed by the prospect of not being able to face off with Corey Horsburgh in a long-awaited rematch, Sharks powerhouse Royce Hunt now also deals with the frustration of another missed duel with Roosters veteran Jared Waerea-Hargreaves in the impending week’s elimination final.
Supporters of the National Rugby League would have been keenly anticipating another intense matchup between Hunt and Horsburgh, but this did not materialize last week due to the latter’s suspension. The two players have developed a contentious dynamic since a confrontation during round 3 when Hunt labeled the Queensland rookie a “weak-gutted dog,” eliciting a fiery reaction. However, Hunt was sanctioned to the sin bin before he could exact his revenge on the field.
At 28 years old, Hunt was planning to engage with Waerea-Hargreaves on the upcoming Saturday evening. But impassioned fans will lose another highly-anticipated clash between the physical powerhouses as the Roosters’ player received a seven-match prohibition following two distinct incidents during their victory over the Tigers.
Oddly enough, Hunt semi-jokingly admits to a slight sense of relief at not having to constantly watch his back during the match. Despite his anticipation for the game, he’s admittedly upset about missing the chance for a vigorous confrontation. He further reflects on the spirit of challenge that still thrives in him,
“I still await the challenge of engaging with their other middles.”
The decks of the Roosters are certainly not left bare; they still possess an abundance of tough competitors. As the week progresses, Hunt acknowledges he will decide whether to challenge Victor Radley, Lindsay Collins, or another player. He describes his process and passion for asserting dominance on the field,
“I find out who the opponents’ middles are, figuring out who will attempt to confront me first. My tactic involves engaging with them before they get a chance to challenge me. As soon as the ball is in my possession, I aim for the biggest opponent and single him out. There is a thrill for me in competing against adversaries who are eager to match their strength with mine.”
Radley, with his piercing intensity, naturally finds himself in Hunt’s line of sight. However, Butcher reveals Radley’s engagement with calming practices to manage his fiery nature.
But despite the absence of some key players due to injuries and the ensuing reshuffling, Saturday night’s match could still prove to be a thrilling spectacle with the Sharks demonstrating the formidable might of their forwards.
Finally, Hunt candidly expresses his chagrin at Dale Finucane’s continued absence, yet also comments on the silver lining,
“We’ve got Tommy (Hazelton) in the rotation now and we’re heartened to see him progressing.”