NRL fans call for James Tedesco switch after Joey Manu's 'insane' display in Roosters win

Roosters fans couldn't believe the performance of the man in the No.1 jersey.

Roosters fans are calling for a massive change to their team after Joey Manu put up one of his career best NRL displays at fullback in the absence of the injured James Tedesco. The Roosters managed to escape with a controversial 22-20 win over the Newcastle Knights on Thursday night.

Tedesco was ruled out of the clash, robbing fans of a duel with reigning Dally M winner Kalyn Ponga, but Manu stepped up and left the NRL world in awe of his jaw-dropping ability. Manu showed he belonged in the No.1 jersey having run for over 300 metres, provided a try assist and made 11 tackle busts for the Roosters.

Joey Manu (pictured) has put on one of the best fullback displays in 2024 in the absence of the injured captain James Tedesco. (Images: Channel Nine/Getty Images)
Joey Manu (pictured) has put on one of the best fullback displays in 2024 in the absence of the injured captain James Tedesco. (Images: Channel Nine/Getty Images)

And one of his biggest plays came when he made the last-ditch challenge on Ponga in the final minute to stop the rival fullback's charge down field. Ponga was equally as impressive having played through the pain of a hip injury to drag a tired looking Knights outfit back into the contest with just a few minutes left.

However, with Tedesco watching on from the coach's box throughout the contest, many fans can't believe other clubs have not attempted to offer Manu enormous money to give him the No.1 jersey. There is no doubt the Kangaroos and Blues fullback will come back into the side and take the No.1 jersey back.

Though fans were quick to stress how sad it would be for the NRL to be losing Manu to French rugby union next year. The 27-year-old is reportedly looking at a move to rugby union with no interest in joining another rival NRL club. But it would be sad to see Manu leave in his prime after he put on one of the best fullback displays seen in 2024.

Unfortunately for the Roosters, Manu indicated he might be leaving in 2025. The 2022 Golden Boot winner has not given any indication how long he plans on staying in rugby union. But he admitted he would like to link up against with Roosters and plans to "finish" his footy career with the TriColours.

"I hope I get to finish my career here or get a few more years here," Manu said. "I came here when I was 16. So to give back to the club, the fans, the members and all that, would be special. They kick-started my career and hopefully I get a few more years in."

Joseph Manu celebrates.
Joseph Manu (pictured right) was brilliant for the Roosters.

Controversial Kalyn Ponga call rocks Roosters and Knights finish

The home side fans were left fuming on Thursday night when Kalyn Ponga made a line break from his own end with just 90 seconds remaining, and was dragged down by Junior Pauga near the halfway line. With Ponga keen to get a quick play-the-ball to help his side try and snatch victory at the death, Pauga appeared to have a second dip to hold Ponga down.


This was while Angus Crichton also came in late to slow things down. Many felt Crichton's actions warranted a penalty at least, and some felt he should have been sin-binned for a professional foul. Referee Gerard Sutton didn't call held until after Pauga's second attempt, with the referee of the belief that the Roosters winger fell off the initial tackle. This would have meant Ponga was free to keep running, and Pauga and Crichton had every right to go on with the tackle.

The Roosters appeared to slow the play the ball down a number of times in the final set as the Knights searched for the winning try and the home crowd was left furious after the final whistle. Boos rang around the ground with the home side left deflated after the loss.