By STEVE MASCORD
NEW Zealand prop Ben Matulino has warned Sydney Roosters to be on the lookout for some thunderous hits in next Saturday’s World Club Challenge.
While the conventional wisdom is that Wigan have little hope of toppling the NRL premiers at Allianz Stadiun, Matulinogives them a good chance after facing up to Shaun Wane’s men on Wednesday night in Hamilton, a game the Lancashire side won 46-22.
“The Wigan team, they shot out of the line heaps and they were really good and I think they’ll give the Roosters a run,” Matulino tells Fairfax Media.
“I thought the way they played, with guys shooting out of the line, they’ll give the Roosters a good little rattle. The Roosters have some x-factor as well … Sean (O’Loughlin returning) will steady the ship for Wigan.
“The Roosters will try to match them. That’s their game, going through the middle and bullying teams. I’m looking forward to the game and I’m sure there’s going to be some heavy collisions.”
Centre Anthony Gelling says shutting down the Roosters’ plays early is a big part of the Wigan gameplan.
“I think the Roosters are similar to the Warriors with the size of their pack.” the Cook Islander says. “They’ve got a few Kiwi boys too.
“I think when we showed a bit of aggression with our line speed, that’s when we started getting on top of them.”
But according to coach Wane, the plan was not properly executed at Waikato Stadium.\
“To be honest, I don’t think we did that well enough,” he said. “In patches in the second half, we did. But in large parts of the first half we didn’t.
“We were a little bit tight, there’s lots of areas we need to work on. There’s no question of that. If we want to beat a really impressive Roosters team, we’ve got to improve.”
Filed for: SYDNEY MORNING HERALD