Roosters confident in unheralded NRL cover

·3-min read

Angus Crichton is adamant a horror injury toll at Sydney Roosters will not derail their pursuit of a premiership despite at least seven starting NRL players on the sidelines.

James Tedesco is a chance to return from a concussion against Parramatta on Friday, but the club is still reeling from a nightmare win over Newcastle on Saturday night.

Scenes in the sheds following the 38-4 victory were anything but celebratory with winger Brett Morris suffering an ACL injury that is likely to end his 276-game career.

It was an emotional night for the fourth-place Roosters, but the ramifications could extend beyond the premature end to the career of the NRL's top-tryscorer.

Morris and Queensland prop Lindsay Collins became the fourth and fifth Roosters players across the past year to suffer ACL injuries at the club.

Along with Morris and Collins, Luke Keary will miss the rest of the season with the injury, while Sam Verrills has only just made his return.

Centre Billy Smith was sidelined for the entire 2020 season with an ACL injury, and underwent a shoulder reconstruction in February which has delayed his comeback.

Skipper Boyd Cordner is still a month away after repeated concussions last season, while fellow co-captain Jake Friend was forced to retire last month.

Just eight rounds into the season, the injuries sum up a nightmare start to the year, but Crichton said the team aren't short on faith.

"We saw someone like (Matt) Ikuvalu come in on the weekend and he's one of the classiest wingers in the NRL and he's stepping up into a position. He's capable of doing that job," the NSW Origin second-rower said.

"We've got guys in our whole squad who might not be as hyped up or as decorated as some of our younger kids but they're really quality football players and they're more than willing and more than able to be able to do a job.

"Times like this you rely on your whole squad and that's the beauty of sport."

Remarkably, teenage halfback Sam Walker is one player who may not have been given his NRL debut so early if not for Keary's injury.

In his first five games the 18-year-old has set up 12 tries, just one behind competition leader Jarome Luai at Penrith.

King's College year 12 student Joseph Suaalii is also waiting for his chance to debut.

The 17-year-old has special exemption from the NRL to play before his 18th birthday and is an option for Trent Robinson against the Eels this week.

"Him and Sam Walker, the way they've burst into the scene and had a lot of media attention and a lot of hype and they're still two of the humblest young men you'll meet, that's just a testament to them and their family and how ready they are," Crichton said.

ROOSTERS CASUALTY WARD

James Tedesco - concussion (round 9)

Lachlan Lam - knee (round 10)

Boyd Cordner - concussion (mid-season)

Billy Smith - shoulder (mid-season)

Freddy Lussick - arm (mid-season)

Luke Keary - ACL (season)

Brett Morris - ACL (season)

Lindsay Collins - ACL (season)

Jake Friend - concussion (retired)