MEREWETHER co-coach Mick Gill knew from the first chat he had with Seva Rokobaro that the veteran Fijian No.8 would be the perfect fit for the Greens.
Gill wasn't mistaken. After a pre-season stallled by ankle surgery, Rolobaro has started in the past two games.
As expected, the former international's calmness in pressure situations and leadership have proved just as valuable as his charges on the edges, off loads and strength from the back of the scrum.
"He has been unreal," Gill said. "It is more the way he talks to the young fellas at stoppages and the calming influence he has. When he speaks, people listen. He doesn't over talk. He knows what he wants to say and says it at the right time. We spoke at the start of the year about the up and coming second-rowers and back-rowers we had at the club and how they could learn from him. His leadership and experience has been enormous."
On Saturday at Townson Oval, Rokobaro faces his old club Hamilton for the first time.
"Everyone at the club was massively disappointed and shocked that he left," Hamilton coach Scott Coleman said. "It is more his attributes off the field, as far as his leadership. We know his strengths and weaknesses. He has been running at us at training every Tuesday and Thursday for the past three years. Our boys know how to tackle him. It's a matter of taking time and space away from him and going low."
The Greens opened the season with five straight wins and were outright first before the bye in round eight.
"The boys have come back really refreshed and have a bit more energy about them," Gill said.
They face a full-strength Hawks side which plan to "ask some questions" of the Greens at the set pieces.
Elsewhere, Lake Macquarie coach Gareth Polamo won't finalise a side until Saturday morning for the trip to Marcellin Park to take on Maitland due to a spate of injuries and unavailable players.
The Blacks are light on backs, with Carl Manu, Chris Logan, Josh McCormack and Pat Batey out.
At Ernie Calland Oval, English hooker Ryan Jackson makes his debut for Southern Beaches against his former club Wanderers.
A full-strength Nelson Bay will be desperate to start a winning run against Singleton at home.