Old bull versus young bull. The ‘big dog’ and the new pup.
The contest up front is one of many intriguing battles across the park on Saturday at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Of all the matchups, the Gold Coast Titans’ young, quietly spoken forward leader in Moeaki Fotuaika up against the Sydney Roosters firebrand, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, is right at the top of the list.
‘JWH’ has been leading the Roosters pack for a decade, and you only need to look at their win record when he doesn’t play to know how important he is to the tri-colours.
On the other side of the field, Fotuaika has quietly been building a reputation as a hard-nosed, hardworking front rower who can lead this Titans pack for some time to come.
The stats tell us Waerea-Hargreaves is the bigger, but it doesn’t mean he is providing more punch, with Fotuaika coming out on top in tackle breaks, showing just how difficult he is for opposition sides to handle.
Waerea-Hargreaves gets the nod in offloads and running metres (by 1m), showing just how difficult he is to contain in his own right.
Both sides possess an array of talent out wide, but come Saturday it is these two men in the middle who will decide which sides speedsters get the room to play and it just may be the difference.