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Former Sea Eagle braced for Kite test

The first time Manly prop Brent Kite clapped eyes on Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, he drove into the Sea Eagles' training ground behind the wheel of what can only be described as heap.
Former Sea Eagle braced for Kite test
by AAP

By Ian McCullough and Rob Forsaith

SYDNEY, Oct 1 AAP - The first time Manly prop Brent Kite clapped eyes on Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, the Sydney Roosters enforcer he'll go head-to-head with in Sunday's NRL grand final, he drove into the Sea Eagles' training ground behind the wheel of what can only be described as heap.

Days earlier Kite received a phone call from his niece asking him to keep on an eye on her cousin "little Jared" who was joining the club as a young prop.

But what stepped out of a clapped out Toyota was a hulking front-rower, ready-made for a career in the NRL.

"His cousin, who is like a brother, is my niece's step-dad," Kite said.

"So we sort of had a bit of an association off the field.

"I'm just thinking of a little kid who's going to rock in and then big Jared comes in. He was about my size and he brains it from day one in training."

Waerea-Hargreaves' talent alerted the Roosters who snatched him away from the Sea Eagles after just six NRL appearances at the end of the 2009 season.

But it's taken the arrival of Trent Robinson as coach to add some consistency and polish to his game.

"I idolised K-man when I was growing up," Waerea-Hargreaves told AAP.

"He was the No.1 front-runner and I was like `man, he's great' He was awesome for me."

The Kiwi prop laughs at the mention of his legendary vehicle, which is folklore at the Sea Eagles' North Narrabeen base.

"Everyone remembers that car," he said.

"It was an old Toyota Lexcen. I spray painted it myself - matte black.

"It had no windows, no headlights - it was 'the' car. I loved it.

"Looking back I can't believe people even let me drive it."

Waerea-Hargreaves was last year rewarded with a lucrative new contract which allows him to drive in something more roadworthy nowadays.

But his value to the team has been diluted this season, due to the six weeks of suspensions.

The first was for a high-shot on Manly's George Rose that led to his send off in round 16.

The other was for an elbow to the throat of South Sydney's Chris McQueen and earned him another week out.

A no-nonsense talk from Robinson followed the McQueen incident and Waerea-Hargreaves said it was important he paid heed to his coach.

"It's a maturity thing, I want to do my best for the team and my job is do make sure I am on the field," he said.

"Robbo made it pretty simple and pretty clear.

"He said I needed to get it out of my game. I have crossed it a couple of times this year and I have found myself in a bit of trouble."

Waerea-Hargreaves played in the Roosters side that made the 2010 grand final against St George Illawarra.

But he admits the distractions of the week affected him and it showed in his disappointing display in the 32-8 loss.

"I got a bit carried away in 2010," he said.

"I was pretty much worrying about everyone else's job. Worrying about friends and family to make sure they had tickets. I didn't focus enough on the game.

"This year I am enjoying it and trying to give a bit of knowledge of what not to do to the younger boys."


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