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Roosters Head Coach Trent Robinson has announced a change to his side to take on the Newcastle Knights this Saturday and confirmed the Roosters are ready for a road trip to the Hunter following their emphatic Anzac Day victory.  

With fullback and captain James Tedesco ruled out after undergoing necessary HIA protocols, Robinson put full faith in fellow outside backs Joseph Manu and Matt Ikuvalu to fill in the void as they did on Anzac Day.

“He (Tedesco) won’t play this weekend,” Robinson confirmed.

“He’ll get rested, recover and get ready for next week. It is dependent on the individual, but he won’t play this week.

“It’s pretty simple to see for us the way Joey Manu plays and the way he’s filled in there over the years. There will be no surprise there.

“It’s really nice to have a player like Joey. We’ve got BMoz (Brett Morris) who’s played maybe 30, 40 games of NRL at fullback but Joey is our first choice there.

“He’s a very talented player and a hard-working player. The ability to adapt and understand what role he’s got to play at fullback takes some work, and he does it very well.

We’ve got to make sure we go up to Newcastle and play the brand that Newcastle demands in that town. Playing a physical style of footy is really important so we’ll get ready for that.

Trent Robinson On playing the Knights

“He’s a very, very good player, Matt."

“He’s been wonderful to have at the Club and the way he plays and the sort of person that he is, he’s a really valued teammate."

With many anticipating the NRL debut of young outside back Joseph Suaalii, Robinson believes that the 17-year-old will come into the side in due time, and also welcomed back hulking front rower Siosiua Taukeiaho, who was a late omission in Round 7. 

“I’ll use him when he’s ready,” he said of Suaalii. 

“He’s learning the rigours of the season at the moment. He’s doing well whilst doing year 12 exams and putting that all together.

“As we’ve said from the start, we’ll handle him in the right way and he’ll play when we think he’s ready. He’s getting close.

“We try to get a balance of our different forwards in the squad and what they all bring; from Jared (Waerea-Hargreaves) to Lindsay (Collins) to Isaac Liu to Siua to Nat Butcher.

“He (Taukeiaho) brings power to our team; he brings a physicality the way he plays and it’ll be good to get him back in again."

Anzac Day Triumph 2021

With plenty of celebrations and milestones achieved in the Anzac Day Cup victory, including Sam Verrills' return and Sam Walker being awarded the Ashton-Collier Spirit of Anzac Medal, the three-time Premiership-winning Head Coach emphasised his side's concentration was solely on getting back to business and bringing home the two competition points on Saturday night. 

“They’ve obviously had some different personnel change over there, like us," Robinson said of the Knights. 

“Their combinations in having their no.1 (Kalyn Ponga) come back and fill back in, they played a pretty good opponent (Penrith), but we’ve got to make sure we go up to Newcastle and play the brand that Newcastle demands in that town.

“Playing a physical style of footy is really important so we’ll get ready for that.

“The consistency of the team that you demand of the players adapts from week to week. You just roll on and you keep attacking each week as it deserves.

“For us, heading back into this week you get your emotion over and done with, you recover and you get ready to attack again. That’s an NRL season."

 

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