Waerea-Hargreaves last boss of dying breed

·2-min read

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson considers Jared Waerea-Hargreaves the last master of a dying craft.

"There's not too many like him," Robinson says.

"It is a dying art.

"He goes overboard sometimes but that's the art of being a great enforcer.

"He knows when to push the limits."

Front-rower Waerea-Hargreaves is on a self-imposed media ban so it was left to his Roosters teammates to wax lyrical about how at 33 - when time says he should be winding down - he is winding up.

Statistics will suggest that Waerea-Hargreaves is having one of his worst seasons in recent memory, with his metres gained well down.

But it's his intangible qualities that will help the Roosters defeat South Sydney in Sunday's NRL elimination final.

"He's probably a bit of a dying breed," back-rower Angus Crichton tells AAP.

"I think there have been players like him in the past but at the moment I don't think there is anyone like him.

"He takes the game head on and I love playing alongside him.

"He sets the tone and gets guys up around him and that aggression is something we love."

In an increasingly sanitised digital world where metres and fantasy points are the barometers by which front-rowers are judged, Waerea-Hargreaves is an analog prop only too happy to fight fire with fire.

It's in complete contradiction to his polite off-field persona.

But never was it more evident than when the Roosters met old foes Melbourne back in round 24.

When Storm brute Nelson Asofa-Solomona was overstepping the mark it was Waerea-Hargreaves who cut him down to size.

He earned a sin-binning for his troubles but it had a galvanising effect on his teammates.

"For 250-plus games he has put his body on the line," says front-row partner Matt Lodge.

"That makes the next person want to do it and that makes me want to do it.

"I think we are breeding them (enforcers) out of society as well as footy.

"Kids coming through these days are pretty nice and they need a cuddle.

"I hope he's not the last of a dying breed."

Waerea-Hargreaves was restricted to just 13 minutes against Souths in round 25 after he picked up a hamstring complaint.

In other circumstances he might have been risked but such is his importance to Robinson he was kept on ice in the knowledge that bigger tasks were ahead.

He still prowled the sidelines waiting to go back on for the rest of the game and shapes as a difference-maker come Sunday afternoon at Allianz Stadium.

"I don't know how he's still going but I have so much respect for him," Crichton said.

"People are surprised at how respectful and humble he is off the pitch but when he walks on there he can flick that switch."