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I've been studying Sonny Bill, says Horo

Justin Horo is meant to be taking things one game at a time, but Sonny Bill Williams has spooked him into putting one of rugby league's greatest cliches on ice.
I've been studying Sonny Bill, says Horo
by AAP

By Will Knight

SYDNEY, May 8 AAP - Justin Horo is meant to be taking things one game at a time, but Sonny Bill Williams has spooked him into putting one of rugby league's greatest cliches on ice.

Previewing next Monday's NRL clash with the Sydney Roosters, Manly forward Horo admitted his match-up with his rival back-rower had been playing on his mind for at least a few weeks.

The Roosters have piled on a competition-best 208 points over the first eight rounds, with a big contribution from a lethal right edge of Mitchell Pearce, Williams, Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

Horo has been a big admirer of Williams' work since returning from a five-year stint in rugby union.

"He hasn't missed a beat since he's been back in the comp," said Horo after training at Narrabeen on Wednesday.

"I've kind of noticed that he's switched over to the right edge.

"And I've been looking out at a few weeks of footy leading up to it and knew I was probably going to come up against him. I'm really looking forward to it."

The Sea Eagles are coming off a massive defensive effort when forced to make almost 100 more tackles than St George-Illawarra in Monday night's 24-18 win.

And Horo is facing another tough examination at Brookvale Oval against the power and subtlety of Williams, who has helped lift the Roosters to third on the ladder - one spot ahead of Manly.

"(Williams is) definitely a focus for us," said Horo.

"There are a few players in the competition where you've got to concentrate on an offload.

"And sure Sonny's got that offload but he's got a bit of a pre-line pass in him as well.

"We're going to have to be on our game."

Horo will get a big helping hand on the Manly left-side from Steve Matai, who returns from a one-week suspension for a high hit on South Sydney forward George Burgess.

Matai won't be changing his aggressive style against Williams, his schoolmate at Mount Albert Grammar in Auckland over a decade ago.

"I marked him in my first year of NRL (in 2005)," said Matai.

"We're good mates from back home.

"He's one of those once-in-a-lifetime kind of athletes.

"I guess you've just got to go in hard. You've got to get up and cut down his thinking time and try to get the ball out of his hands early."


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