As seen on NRL.com by Senior Reporter Margie McDonald
Martin Taupau has the chance to do his bit and support his New Zealand brothers and sisters when Manly play the Warriors in Christchurch later in March.
But that is round three. Taupau’s first focus is on the Roosters at Lottoland on Sunday in round two.
However, the scenes and consequences of the mosque shootings in Christchurch last Friday have jolted Taupau into thinking of next week’s visit.
He has been watching and listening at the outpouring of emotion from nations worldwide. And it makes his chest swell.
“It makes me not only proud to be a New Zealander but proud to be a human being,” Taupau said on Monday.
“There’s so much love going on around the world in support that gives me a lot of faith in humanity at the moment.
“It’s a great sign with world leaders, movie stars, other influential people and sporting leaders of every capacity have come out in support. It’s awesome.”
Tapau was born and bred in south Auckland, but events like last Friday immediately unite the South and North islands.
“New Zealanders are New Zealanders. We’re all from one mother.”
That explains in part his anxiety to get back home for the round three game at Christchurch’s ANZ Stadium.
“It will great for us to get in among the community and show our support not just as a club but also as the NRL.
“It’s hard, it’s a very sensitive subject to talk about, not just for there but for everyone globally.
“It’s very sad and you feel lost for words.”
Manly and the Warriors are sure to make their presence felt in the local community and try to spread some kinship and friendship.
But first, the Roosters. The premiers are coming off a loss, which is never an easy scenario to face.
“It’s perfect for us to play them at Lottoland. It’s our ground so hopefully we get the support out and not the torrential rain,” Taupau said.
The Sea Eagles will be without Addin Fonua-Blake after he copped a one-match ban after being charged for two dangerous tackles in the 20-6 loss to the Wests Tigers last Saturday.
Fonua-Blake was the highest metre-eater for the Sea Eagles with 198 metres.
“It’s hard but we’ve definitely got the muscle with Kelepi [Tanginoa] back [injured knee in Sharks trial] and Jake [Trbojevic] on fire as well. Jake can do a million tackles and get up and not look fatigued at all. Same with Api Koroisau,” Taupau said.
“Our defence was astronomical. It was awesome compared with the last three years. Our defensive structure was there – the intent, just everything. It all came into place.”
Trbojevic agreed the defence was resolute against the Tigers but it only lasted for three-quarters of the game.
“I guess we put ourselves under too much pressure [with errors] which got us in the end,” he said.
“Our defence was good and that gave us a lot of confidence. But you can’t keep putting yourselves under that sort of pressure and come away with a win.
“They kept getting repeat set, repeat set on our errors and penalties.”
Trbojevic’s clash with Roosters No.13 Victor Radley will be a key head-to-head contest this Saturday.
“He is great to watch and does everything at 100 miles an hour. He has great impact so any team will have to watch him,” he said.