GIAN Antonio Guerra’s took the slow boat from Italy when he was just 13, in the first half of the last century. Now, grandson Aiden has him to thank for the biggest month of his life.
Three weeks after lining up for Sydney Roosters in the NRL grand final before 82,000 spectators, the back rower will honour his heritage by taking to the 72,500-capacity Millennium Stadium in Cardiff for Italy against Wales on the opening day of the World Cup.
“My grandfather was born in Italy and migrated over here. He was 13 years old, he came over with his mum and his sister,” Guerra tells RLW.
“Being picked in the Italian side, I’ve got more in touch with the heritage and the story behind it. It’s quite a story. He’s passed on now but I’ve got massive amounts of respect for what he did.
“It’s going to be good to go and represent his family name.
“It will be a good month. I’m just focused on the grand final now, whatever happens after that…. “
Guerra told an interviewer earlier this year “I was shitting myself” when Sonny Bill Williams joined the club but he has found a home in the Roosters’ top 17 by altering his role in the team somewhat.
He still remembers just how bruising the 4-0 win over Manly was on the opening weekend of the finals series.
“We were still sore on the Thursday,” he said. Asked if the tricolours would have won the following week, he answered: “It’s speculation but I’d like to say we would have. We pride ourselves on consistency throughout the season and getting up for the big games. Now that’s what we’ve got to do this week.
“They’re a team that has shown over the years that they’ve just got that mental grit and they put how they’re feeling physically in another mind and they’re just out there to win footy games. We’ve got to expect that they’re fresh minded and they’re going to come out and batter us.
“We’ve known all year they’re capable of that. They’re always going to be Manly. You know when you go out against a Manly side, they’re going to be tough. We’ve got a lot of respect for a lot of their players but we just have to go out there and do what we do and hope for the best.
“We’ve been training for this game for 10 months now and it’s no secret that if you put in the hard work, all the little secrets along the way aren’t going to matter.”
NB: Since this story appeared, Sydney Roosters beat Manly 26-18 in the NRL grand final, with Guerra scoring a try.
Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK