Sydney Roosters players believe they can get under the skin of fiery former teammate Martin Kennedy and are promising the Brisbane prop a hot reception when they reacquaint at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
Kennedy may feel he has a point to prove against the Roosters after being left out of last year’s grand final-winning team despite being considered on the cusp of Queensland State of Origin selection a couple of seasons ago.
The 25-year-old firebrand’s notoriously short fuse was lit by renowned Canterbury niggler Michael Ennis in round one recently, costing the Broncos a potentially costly try on the stroke of halftime.
Kennedy was given permission to negotiate with rival clubs at the end of last year, and Roosters forward Aidan Guerra indicated on Monday the Chooks are confident they can get a rise out of their former teammate with a verbal barrage.
“It’ll be an intense encounter on Marty’s behalf I think, he’s always been a pretty intense guy,” Guerra said.
“We are not focusing in on him by any means but I’ll say there will be a bit of chat thrown his way.
“The fact that he knows us more, he might just shrug it off or he might take it a bit personally.
“That’s up to him.
“He might feel that way (he has something to prove), you can never be too sure on how he’s going to feel personally … I would say he would have felt like anyone else that missed out (on the grand final), he wouldn’t have been too happy about it.”
Parramatta lock Darcy Lussick set last Saturday night’s clash with the Roosters alight with his brutal swinging arm to the head of Roosters’ prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
The Roosters came to Waerea-Hargreaves’ aid in the biggest flashpoint of the season so far, and centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall says teammates will be ready to bring the heat again against Kennedy and the joint table-topping Broncos.
“Definitely, when we come up against him he’s sure to get a fiery reception and the big boys will all be giving it to him that’s for sure,” said Kenny-Dowall.
“He’ll rise to the challenge … so it will be interesting.”