After looking in from the outside for the last month, hooker Wayde Egan and back rower Bayley Sironen are primed to help the Vodafone Warriors rebound in Saturday night’s 13th-round encounter with Manly Warringah at 4 Pines Park in Sydney (7.35pm kick-off local time; 9.35pm NZT).
They haven’t played since the 10-29 loss to the Sharks on May 8, side-lined with injuries which left them in a watching role for the run of close defeats at the hands of South Sydney, St George Illawarra and Newcastle.
Egan (calf) and Sironen (osteitis pubis) have recovered to earn recalls for the critical clash in this weekend’s split round.
For Egan, the time off has been both instructive and eye-opening, eye-opening because he had a special insight into game day from the other side of the fence.
“I don’t know how the coaches do it. I’ve been in the box (with them) the last couple of weeks and I can understand why coaches are bald. It’s a stressful job watching on,” he said.
But instructive, too, because he has been able to take in what has been happening on the field from a different vantage point.
“There have been some good improvement areas but it’s just the final touches,” said Egan.
"Last week some of our last plays let us down, a couple of kicks going out on the full, ä kick-off going dead … hopefully we can nail things like that this week.
“This week is all about getting the win and getting the season back on track.
“We’ve done a lot of talking but hopefully we can do some actions on the field this week. If we can get on a little run we would be right amongst it again.
“You don’t think too far ahead but in the back of your mind you know we have to start winning some games. We’ve been good in patches but we need to be good for the whole 80.”
Like Egan, Sironen is keen to rip in again and says there’s still plenty of belief among the playing group.
“I’m really excited to get back out and play some footy. I was disappointed to miss a couple of weeks,” he said.
“We’re not far off. We’re doing some really good things throughout games but unfortunately we’re not sustaining that throughout the 80 minutes. A couple of silly errors at crucial times have cost us a few games. It’s getting to the point now where we have to start winning those games.
“The belief throughout the team hasn’t dropped one bit.
“We won a few close games early which helped the confidence and we’ve lost a few close ones as well but throughout the season the belief in the side hasn’t diminished at all. We’re still firm believers that we can give this competition a crack and we’re confident in whatever team we put out there.”
Sironen was selected as the Vodafone Warriors’ official reserve in his last outing against the Sharks. However, he was able to make his 51st career appearance when the Vodafone Warriors activated the 18th rule due to Euan Aitken failing a HIA test following a shoulder charge which had resulted in Cronulla Sutherland centre Jesse Ramien being sent to the sin bin.