Despite their excellent run of form heading into the NRL finals, Sydney Roosters forwards Dylan Napa and Aidan Guerra are facing suspensions.
The Sydney Roosters’ forwards stocks could be further depleted heading into the NRL finals with Dylan Napa and Aidan Guerra facing suspensions.
Guerra is facing a one-game ban for a ‘chicken wing’ tackle on South Sydney forward Kyle Turner in the Roosters’ 22-18 win on Thursday night.
Napa will miss three games with an early guilty plea to a grade-two shoulder charge on Rabbitohs skipper John Sutton.
A three-match suspension could include the grand final should the Roosters win their opening week final, get a week off and then reach the decider.
Hooker Jake Friend is sidelined following surgery for a hemothorax, his back-up Heath L’Estrange is recovering from a knee injury and back-rower Frank-Paul Nuuausala is battling with a foot problem.
The potential loss of Napa and Guerra will compound the forwards crisis facing coach Trent Robinson.
The Roosters’ opponents in the opening week of the finals are yet to be decided but it will definitely be played at Allianz Stadium.
There had been suggestions that if Manly beat North Queensland on Saturday to finish top of the ladder, the second-placed Roosters may be forced to play a ‘home’ final with South Sydney at ANZ Stadium.
However, AAP understands the NRL have ruled out the prospect of moving the game to the bigger venue.
Despite the potential losses of the four forwards, halfback Mitchell Pearce believes the team is in great shape following the win over Souths.
“Everyone was saying we were flying under the radar – we weren’t playing great but we were still winning,” Pearce said.
“Lots of sides are in this position but our form’s probably got a bit more attention.
“We lost to Cronulla and Newcastle but besides that we were ticking over the wins.
“That’s all you can do – it’s nice to come into form at the right time of the year.”
Pearce also claimed the experience of winning last year’s grand final against Manly is a huge advantage and admitted players had been holding back their best form earlier in the season.
“Maybe subconsciously we weren’t totally committed or playing to the best of our ability,” he said.
“The last four weeks we’ve improved but there’s a big month ahead of us … but round 26 doesn’t mean anything if we don’t win.
“I think if you’ve done it before there’s a confidence there that you believe you can do it.
“The boys are confident at the moment, everyone’s buzzing.”