Trent Robinson was pulling no punches.
He thought Aidan Guerra was coasting by.
Brian Smith had just been replaced as head coach of the Roosters and Robinson was in the hot seat for his rookie NRL season.
At this stage, Guerra had played three straight seasons of first grade and felt he belonged.
That was until Robinson lit a rocket.
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He believed Guerra had more to give. He was better than he was delivering.
So, the coach dropped him from the first-grade side.
It was a confronting moment for the backrower.
“That year, 2013 we were against the Knights and I got dropped,” Guerra told the Our Town Our Team podcast.
“I didn’t get picked that game and I was filthy. I spoke to Robbo and he sort of told me, I still hadn’t quite got that professionalism down pat.
“He said; ‘mate, if you get this right. You can not only play week to week but you might be a rep footy player but at the moment you’re just cruising through.
“People that cruise through get dropped mid-season. That was a wake-up call for me because I felt by that stage, I was good enough. When he dropped me, I was filthy because I felt I should be playing.
“He made it clear I was coasting by and not really fully applying myself.”
It was a light-bulb moment for the backrower.
He returned to first grade and played a key role in their premiership season.
He even scored a try in the Roosters’ 26-18 grand final victory over Manly.
At the end of the year he made his Test debut for Italy before going on to play Origin for Queensland and Test football for Australia in 2014.
“It was flick the switch or get flicked at that stage,” he said.
“That set us up for a run into the finals and in turn set me up to play in a premiership winning side.”
Listen to more from Guerra in the Our Town Our Team podcast.