Joseph Manu, a significant player for the Roosters, is recovering well from a hamstring injury. He will have a final fitness test on Friday, ahead of the elimination final against Cronulla on Saturday.
The star centre, who was awarded the Golden Boot, missed the incredibly important game against the Rabbitohs last week after sustaining the injury in the Roosters‘ remarkable Round 26 victory over the Wests Tigers.
Despite not yet being up to high-intensity running, Manu’s progress will be evaluated in the coming week across three key training sessions.
“Joseph’s doing well and is training hard,” stated the Roosters‘ edge forward, Nat Butcher. “We’re all hopeful that he’ll be fit for Saturday’s game. He’s already been lifting weights, and is now progressively working back into running in his recovery.”
“Having Joey back for the big games where it counts the most would be fantastic. He’s one of our best, and a player who performs exceptionally well under pressure.” Butcher expressed.
The Roosters stand to greatly benefit from Manu’s return, given his knack for turning seemingly impossible scenarios into scoring opportunities. However, five-eighth Luke Keary is positive that the team has sufficient depth to fill the gap should Manu be unfit to play.
Junior Pauga, another late addition, also delivered a stellar performance filling in for Daniel Tupou, the Roosters’ top try scorer, who turned up at club HQ with a heavily strapped knee showing a significant limp.
As for Tupou, the chances of any miraculous recovery ahead of Saturday’s game are rather slim. Moreover, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, the veteran prop, will be absent from the game owing to a seven-match suspension. While wishing for Manu’s recovery, Keary remains optimistic about the team’s capabilities.
“Training sessions for this week haven’t commenced yet, but I reckon they’ll evaluate Manu’s condition on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday”, Keary said. “Losing both Joey and Toops last week was a setback, but players like Junior, Corey, and other middle forwards stepped up to the mark, performing admirably.”
“If Manu’s available, it’s a bonus”, Keary added, “but I’ve got faith in Corey to deliver a good game should Joey not make it.”