Dom Young fit as Roosters avoid backline crisis

Scott Bailey |

Sydney Roosters have avoided a backline injury crisis with Dom Young set to return from a hamstring issue after getting through a full training session unscathed.

The Roosters were at risk of being without four members of their stacked backline against Canterbury on Saturday, thanks largely to injuries.

Michael Jennings joined the club’s injured brigade on Saturday night against Parramatta, limping off with a hamstring issue that will see him sidelined.

Centre Billy Smith is out indefinitely with an ankle problem, while Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii is suspended.

Making matters worse for the Tricolours is that English winger Lewis Murphy is also out with a scaphoid fracture and back-up stocks are limited.

But there was some good news on Monday, with Young getting through a full training session at Moore Park after suffering a hamstring injury last week.

“He looked all good, fingers crossed we get the big boy back out there,” halfback Sam Walker said. 

“He’s been really good for us this year. I think it was just a bit of tightness. He’s definitely one of the players that we need with that speed out there.”

Young’s inclusion on the wing means Junior Pauga will likely partner Joey Manu in the centres, with the Roosters not required to hand out a debut.

There is also the bonus of skipper James Tedesco being available at fullback after his NSW Origin omission.

James Tedesco’s omission by NSW certainly helps the Roosters.

Young was sent off in his last game against the Bulldogs for a high shot on Blake Taaffe, but in the minds of Roosters players that is ancient history.

“He’ll be good. Tough night, but he’s improved a lot from that game,” Young’s right-side partner Manu said. 

“He’s pretty chilled, so he hasn’t talked much about it.”

The Roosters are viewing the next three weeks before their round-19 bye as crucial.

In the eyes of Walker, the team has not been better placed for a premiership charge in any year since his 2021 debut.

But they have lacked consistency, with three straight wins between rounds eight and 10 the only back-to-back victories they have recorded all season.

Sitting fifth on the ladder, the Roosters will enter matches against Canterbury, Wests Tigers and St George Illawarra as favourites and can lay the platform for a top-four finish with wins in each of those games.

“This next block, especially around this Origin period, is pretty big,” Manu said. 

“Those three games are important for us.

“I feel like this club’s always a top-four club. Always fighting and always playing for premierships. 

“We’ve just got to keep worrying about us and how we can improve. We’ve shown it in glimpses but we just need to do it consistently.”