Carroll: ‘You have to take the big dog out’
South Sydney great Mark 'Spudd' Carroll has called on Rabbitohs skipper Sam Burgess to channel his infamous battles with Paul 'Chief' Harragon by putting a target on Sydney Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves at ANZ Stadium.
Thursday night's top-of-the table clash will mark another chapter in the bitter rivalry between the foundation clubs and Carroll told The Daily Telegraph the Rabbitohs big man has no choice but to go after Waerea-Hargreaves.
"Waerea-Hargreaves is up front … if you're going to take the Roosters on then I think you have to take Hargreaves on. He's their leader," Carroll said.
"Sam will have to take him on … it's probably the old 'Spudd v Chief'. You have to take the big dog out, you just have too. You've got to be in his face. What happens is then everyone else around him goes shit because he's getting hammered. So you've just got to be in his face."
Carroll and Harragon would make a beeline for each other every time they played. Their brutal clashes are etched in league folklore following a ferocious front-on hit that floored both players and knocked Harragon out in 1996.
Paul Harragon vs Mark Carroll 1995.— Rugby League Best Tries Hits and Biffs (@NBiffs) June 25, 2019
Harragon comes at Carroll like a missile and comes off second best.
And didn’t Carroll love it.
Not many better rivalries than Spud vs Chief.
Left nothing on the field these two legends#bringbackthebiff #spud #chief #legends #nrl #rugbyleague pic.twitter.com/FK3eaN2qiH
Carroll said even though Burgess has had a season interrupted with a shoulder and then a quadriceps injury, the English international had to aim up against the premiers.
"Sam was back last week [against the New Zealand Warriors] but he definitely has to be firing at 100 per cent this week against the Roosters. They've got to win. Simple. There's no other word to be said," he said.
In the absence of Burgess, boom forward Liam Knight has been a revelation for the Rabbitohs and Carroll has some advice for him, too.
"Take it old school. Run from the back fence, every time he hits the ball up he has to do it like he is running from the back fence. Run at a 100 miles an hour. I think with his frame he can destroy anyone," Carroll said.
Former Rabbitohs and Roosters hooker Sean Garlick, who has been on both sides of the longstanding battle, told The Daily Telegraph the hatred between the two escalated even further when Hollywood superstar Russell Crowe arrived at Redfern in 2005.
"The Rabbitohs had a have and have-nots attitude and the Roosters thought it was no longer justifiable because all of a sudden the Rabbitohs had just as much as the Roosters in terms of profile, in terms of clout, in terms of access to capital. They were able to attract players they couldn't in the past like Greg Inglis and Sam Burgess. The Roosters used to have that all to themselves," he said.
Garlick credits the Rabbitohs' rise in stature for helping them secure seven-time title winner, mastercoach Wayne Bennett.
"Who would have thought the game's most successful coach would be in charge of the oldest and most successful club. It's a match made in heaven," he said.
While the modern rivalry is as intense as ever, both sides usually attempt to temper the build-up and hype leading into the clash. It's a far cry from Garlick's experience in the 1990s.
"If you didn't feel the build up then you were reminded by everyone you ran into. There was no way of escaping it," he said
"Everyone you ran into at the shops and the supermarket, in the traffic, on the footpath … everyone had an opinion. It was inescapable."