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Roosters scrambling for backs as Pauga ponders long ban

The Sydney Roosters could be forced into picking a sixth-choice replacement at centre after the NRL came down hard on Fetalaiga Pauga.

Sent off for his high shot on Canterbury fullback Connor Tracey in the Roosters' 26-8 win on Saturday night, Pauga was on Sunday hit with a grade-two reckless high-tackle charge.

After being left concussed by the hit, Tracey will miss the Bulldogs' clash with Cronulla on Thursday.

The charge handed to Pauga is the same one faced by his Roosters teammate Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii after State of Origin I earlier this month, and will result in a four-game ban.

That would increase to five games if Pauga attempts to downgrade the charge and is unsuccessful at the judiciary.

The Bulldogs' Connor Tracey.
The Bulldogs' Connor Tracey (pictured) was left concussed after a high shot from Fetalaiga Pauga. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

"It wasn't good," Roosters coach Trent Robinson said after the match.

"It's not great to see a player go off like that. It was tough, we don't want that, either side, in our game.

"It's disappointing. He's suffering a bit in there, Junior (Pauga).

"There's stuff to work on there on the field with that tackle (and) then there's making sure he doesn't take it to heart too much, for too long."

In better news for the Roosters, halfback Sam Walker can take a $1000 fine and avoid any suspension for his high tackle on Bulldogs centre Jacob Kiraz.

Pauga's looming ban could not have come at a worse time for the Roosters and their depleted backline.

Suaalii still has two more games to serve for his shot on Reece Walsh in Origin I, and will miss matches against Wests Tigers and St George Illawarra.

Billy Smith is out indefinitely with an ankle problem, while Michael Jennings remains sidelined with a hamstring injury.

English winger Lewis Murphy is out with a scaphoid fracture, while Robert Toia is still recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament tear suffered last year.

Rugby Australia have denied any chance of Mark Nawaqanitawase joining the Roosters despite the code-swapping winger not being named in the Wallabies squad for upcoming Tests against Wales and Georgia.

It means coach Trent Robinson is likely to have to call on an uncapped man in the backline for the next fortnight, or ask a forward to play out of position in the centres.

Six other players were charged from Saturday's matches, but all can avoid suspension and pay fines.

They include Warriors five-eighth Te Maire Martin and Gold Coast playmaker Jayden Campbell, who were each placed on report for hip-drop tackles.