The Parramatta Eels take on the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Sunday 14 May for Round 10 of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
Blue & Gold forward Siosaia Vave says the side is confident heading into the clash, entering with three wins from the last three rounds, however expects a big and tough challenge through the middle to determine the outcome.
And the forward knows that momentum can easily change, so the Eels can’t head into this clash complacent.
“The Roosters have a big forward pack and we know they will be playing us through the middle. I think it will be a big challenge for me and the boys, but we have done well as a forward pack all year and I think we will be ready,” Vave said speaking ahead of the clash.
“We have been doing the little things better than we were a couple of weeks ago. We are winning those little moments in the game, but it’s a big thing for us to go in their with a bit of momentum,” he said on the Eels recent string of victories.
“Our form has been good but we can’t rest on that because that can easily change. But the momentum is with us now and everybody, 1-17, are doing their job so that’s the most important thing.”
Vave has had great impact off the bench, a role he has been set, but as the season continues, the powerful prop is looking to press for more time on the field.
“I have been doing alright, but I want to be better and punch out more minutes,” Vave said.
“With Browny, Beau, Tepai and all our forwards doing a great job in the middle it makes it hard for me with limited time. But in other words, that makes me go out there and go a little bit harder.”
“Our whole 1-17 has been really good, and my form is really just coming off the back of them.”
“That was my job at the start of the season, come out there and try and change the momentum with a couple of quick play the balls for the boys to play off but now that we are into the grind of things, I want to try and get more game time.” He added.
Vave recently represented Tonga during the Pacific Test and the opportunity to represent his country and his parents’ place of birth was a culture shock.
“I am really proud to represent my country, representing my mothers and fathers heritage, it was a good week to break up the NRL grind,” Vave said.
“The lead up was good, getting into camp and being welcomed by the boys. It was a good cultural shock, getting back there and mucking around with some of the boys, speaking your own language. It was a good culture shock to get back and be grounded by some of the boys that play NRL week in, week out.”
“But it was a really big culture shock for the boys that don’t usually get to speak Tongan at home. It makes you appreciate being away from Tonga but also making you feel at home again,” Vave added.
And spending the week in camp with Tongan teammate Manu Vatuvei was a real highlight for the forward and the winger really taught the importance of being humble.
“I was star struck by being able to play with Manu. I didn’t think I would be playing alongside Manu Vatuvei!” Vave said.
“Big Mans is a big leader in camp, he got called in late with an injury to Koni, but I think it was priceless having him in camp for some of the young kids.”
“There were a lot of blokes there that look up to him, he has done everything he has done in the game, representing his country, and being a real good bloke and really humble. I think that was a big thing for him coming into camp, being so humble, he set the tone for everyone else.”
“If Manu Vatuvei can crawl on his knees and get hit by the boys, then everyone is able to do it as well.” He added.
The week was capped off by a thrilling victory on the field over Fiji, with Vave reflected on the experience.
“It was a pretty good feeling to come away with the win! We were down to 12 men, with big T-Rex going down with six minutes to go, but we got some good turn overs with our defence and we barged over through Lelani Latu in the dying stages,” Vave said.
“There was a stage there when I couldn’t hear myself think. The crowd was cheering “Tonga”, “Fiji”, which was pretty cool but you couldn’t really think. There were some stages there, that the boys were doing it tough, and the crowd really got us up.”
“Knowing my mum was in the crowd as well, it was really really pleasing to come away with the win.” Vave added.
The Eels kick off against the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Sunday 14 May, kick off at 4pm. Click through to purchase tickets.