Roosters coach Trent Robinson says his side’s end-of-set plays in Saturday night’s defeat to the Storm were “as bad as” he’s seen, but it appears unlikely that he’ll have young gun Sam Walker to save the team any time soon.
Robinson gave a grim update on the 21-year-old halfback’s injury battle after the Roosters fell to the Storm 30-16 at the SCG.
Walker was axed from the Tricolours’ first-grade side ahead of round eight and for several weeks now has been struggling with a knee injury.
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The Queenslander suffered an ACL sprain while playing in the NSW Cup.
During his absence, Robinson has experimented with three halves combinations: Luke Keary and Joseph Manu, Keary and Drew Hutchison, and Keary and Sandon Smith, who linked up on Saturday night.
The Roosters are placed 14th on the ladder and have slumped to three losses on the bounce.
“I don’t know is the answer,” Robinson told reporters after being asked when Walker would be available.
“He’s training and it’s close, but it just keeps niggling. It’s not an injury you’re going to muck around with … the ACL, so we want him to be right.
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“We’re all a bit frustrated but we’re also not going to take a risk there.
“So, yeah, I don’t know if it’s going to be one week or four weeks.”
In Saturday night’s loss to the Storm, the Roosters only trailed 6-4 at half-time, but conceded four tries in the second half.
For the second time this season, Melbourne speedster Xavier Coates snared a hat-trick against the Roosters.
“The ends of sets have been really poor. We’ve been having some really good sets (this season) and our ends of sets were as bad as I’ve seen tonight: runs on last down short side, or kicks that are five metres short of where they should be,” Robinson said.
“Just the ends of sets — there’s no pressure applied, there’s no tries being scored, there’s nothing coming off those plays … That’s why we sit at 6-4 for a long period of time without looking like nailing them.”
Despite the loss, Daniel Tupou scored a double to equal Anthony Minichiello’s club record of 139 NRL tries.
Robinson had heartfelt words for the former NSW Blues winger.
“Tups has been just rock-solid, and he’s got better,” Robinson said.
“Year on year he’s got stronger, his backfield, his execution — that’s why you get that many tries. Equal all-time try-scorer ever with Mini…
“It’s just a pleasure to watch him play and coach him. I’ve been lucky enough throughout my whole career to have Tups on the left wing.
“He’s one of the good guys.”
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