Roosters put faith in PNG halfback for Storm clash
COACH Trent Robinson insists he is not about to pull a Cooper Cronk trick and launch Kyle Flanagan into his Sydney Roosters starting side against Melbourne tonight (7.50pm kick-off).
An injured Cronk was famously named at 23 in the team list for the Roosters’ 2018 grand final against the Storm, but started at halfback and pulled off a match-winning performance.
Ahead of their Sydney Cricket Ground clash tonight, coach Robinson has named Lachlan Lam at halfback and Flanagan at 21 and said Lam, who played there last round, would hold the role.
“Kyle’s in the 21 and Lachie is in the seven, he played there last week and he will be out there tomorrow night,” Robinson said on yesterday.
“We’ve got two young guys who have really worked hard in their early career and I thought Lachie played well last week so it was his jersey last week and it is this week and they will keep working hard for the team.”
Robinson dismissed talk that player power was behind Flanagan being dropped and said Lam deserved his chance.
“It was purely on what I’ve been seeing over the last month,” he said.
“I talked to Kyle about some things I want him to work on and I wanted to give Lachie the opportunity to push into the position — it’s as simple as that.”
Their round-eight match came down to the wire with field goals exchanged in the final minute to go into golden point, with Melbourne winning with a penalty kick.
Robinson said he wanted to see more from his team, who will again be without captain Boyd Cordner, who is still batting concussion symptoms.
“It was a great game of footy, high intensity but we should have finished better,” he said.
“I was happy with some really good moments but I want improvement tomorrow night.”
Storm skipper Cameron Smith, who kicked that goal, will also be missing through injury, along with Cameron Munster, with Ryley Jacks coming in at five-eighth.
Fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen, who kicked the long-range field goal in that game, is set to take over the goal-kicking duties.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy expected Smith’s shoulder to keep him out for a couple more weeks “at best”.
“I don’t know where the report came from that he could play against the Roosters but he’s not ready for that yet,” Bellamy said. – AAP