Trent Robinson says there have been no signs of nerves from Joey Manu ahead of his rematch with Latrell Mitchell, with the Sydney Roosters insisting last year’s dramas were in the past.
Manu has somehow become a forgotten man since Mitchell’s ban last year, despite being left with three metal plates in his face.
While much of the build up to Friday night’s grudge match with South Sydney has been about the reception Mitchell will cop from the Roosters forwards, Manu has also had quite the comeback path.
The Roosters centre spent time in hospital after the hit, missed the finals campaign and then had to build back confidence for this year.
Manu has repeatedly claimed he has moved on with no bad blood for Mitchell, and while the pair have not met in person they have exchanged messages.
And as far as those closest to him are concerned, he hasn’t been fazed at all by the drama or the build up.
“He’s as consistent a person as there is,” Robinson said.
“He’s been as consistent person throughout coming back to contact and training. He’s just been getting about the business.
“He doesn’t need to rise and fall with any different emotions. I’ve never seen it in him and it’s been no different. He’s just ready to play some footy.”
Robinson himself has made clear he did not regret post-match comments after Mitchell’s hit, which landed him a $30,000 fine for criticism of the bunker and their failure to protect players.
He has, however, admitted he would have had his club act differently on the sideline, where things became heated between players as well as with the match officials.
But he is insistent all is firmly in the past and players have not had to be addressed about keeping emotions in check come Friday.
“This is the funny thing about what’s swirling around. We want to be a great team in 2022,” Robinson said.
“Now we’re playing round three and it happens to be Souths but it doesn’t matter. The rivalry is not as big as how we want to be playing in 2022.”
Robinson wants to create a new team in 2022 as Luke Keary and Sam Walker adapt in the halves, with changes also in the back row where Nat Butcher will start in place of Angus Crichton this week on form.
“The most important thing that we want to do this year is become a great team,” Robinson said.
“We’ve ebbed-and-flowed in the last couple of years and we haven’t handled that. That’s not our path this year.”