Sydney Roosters are on guard for a rugby league ambush in their final round NRL match against arch-rivals South Sydney.
The top-of-the table Roosters are on an 11-game winning streak heading into Friday’s Allianz Stadium encounter.
They can claim their third successive minor premiership with a win. Souths meanwhile have won just once in the past month and are coming off one of their most disappointing efforts of the season, a 47-12 thrashing to Brisbane.
But the Tricolours are wary of a wounded South Sydney side, missing Greg Inglis and John Sutton through injury and Issac Luke through suspension, desperate to defend their premiership crown.
Kiwi prop Sam Moa says the Roosters are aware that the bad blood between the cross-town foes always throws up a tough challenge.
“It is a massive test for us, Souths always respond well after an average performance on their behalf,” Moa said on Tuesday.
“They have a tremendous team and there is a reason why they are the defending premiers. They are a quality side. We are really nervous and we are expecting a tough game of football.
“There are a lot of people bagging South Sydney at the moment, but they are an extremely talented side.
“Everyone knows about the rivalry between the two clubs and we are expecting a semi-final type of intensity.”
The Roosters are not without their own dramas.
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is gone for the season due to a knee injury and Mitchell Pearce won’t return until next week at the earliest as he battles a hamstring complaint.
Moa made a timely return from a wrist injury after three weeks out in the Roosters’ record win at Brookvale Oval last Friday.