PNG halfback handed chance to cement spot
KUMUL Lachlan Lam will start at halfback for the Sydney Roosters in tonight’s NRL clash against St George after the dropping of Kyle Flanagan due to recent poor form.
The NRL’s leading point scorer this season was a surprising omission from the side with Papua New Guinea international Lam named to partner Luke Keary in the halves.
The demotion robs 21-year-old Flanagan of the chance to come up against his father, Dragons assistant coach Shane Flanagan, for a second time this season.
“I thought as part of his development, we’ve been going OK but we want to keep pushing for more,” Robinson said on Wednesday.
“If I go through every player that I’ve dropped who has played in this team I can go through many.
“Whether it’s Joseph Manu, Siosiua (Taukeiaho) or Mitchell Aubusson who will play his 300th (this week) – this is part of development for any player.
“I want to give Kyle the chance to take a breath and get some development while giving Lachie a chance to come in and show his worth as well.
“It’s always hard for a young player who is driven.
“He’s such a hard worker and trainer.
“He’s been physically putting in week-in-week-out so I can’t ask for much more there.
“It’s a tough school and he’s a tough kid who is working really hard.
“It’s about taking it on the chin, working hard, standing up and fighting hard again.
“That’s the way any player week-to-week has to do it.”
Robinson said there were no guarantees Flanagan would come straight back into the side next week and indicated prop Taukeiaho will take over the goal-kicking duties.
“Lam has been training very well and has brought energy to our team,” he said.
“It’s tough in that aspect, but it’s all about week-to-week and what’s best for the team.”
The Roosters sit in fourth spot on the NRL ladder alongside last year’s runners-up Canberra but their latest six-point win over the Titans left Robinson far from impressed.
The Tricolours will need no further motivation against the Dragons with Aubusson suiting up for his 300th NRL appearance and James Tedesco celebrating his 150th game.
“I really want us to improve, I want to strive for more,” Robinson said.
“Being OK is not enough, I want to push all of us — coaches and players — to get more out of ourselves.
“It’s exciting, the mindset when you go after games and seasons like that, and I felt like we needed a push in that direction.”
Meanwhile, Robinson indicated that Roosters captain Boyd Cordner may be rested for a further fortnight after suffering a head knock at training last month.
Cordner is yet to resume contact training with the squad but is back running and in the gym.
“There’s no long-term concern,” Robinson said.
“It’s really important players are honest with where they’re at with this and then how they’re feeling every day.
“Boyd has been that and it’s really hard for him because he wants to be out there playing.
“But we’re going to make sure it’s the right time.
“It would be great for the next couple of weeks for him to increase his training and then we’ll get a good guide as to when he’ll be back.” – NRL