Roosters coach Trent Robinson has defended his decision to rest skipper James Tedesco last week, saying the star fullback had no say in the call for him to miss the loss to the Storm that has put a huge dent in their top eight hopes.
Tedesco was criticised for going to Byron Bay instead of attending the game at the SCG, but Robinson said the trip was necessary to give the veteran fullback a break after a taxing season on and off the field.
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Tedesco has had his form questioned for the first time in his career with both the Roosters and Blues struggling in attack,but no one can fault his effort which has been as tireless as ever on the back of a gruelling 2022 campaign that includeda World Cup in England at the end of the year.
It’s why his coach decided to give him the weekend off, confident that his troops could get the job done without their fearless leader.
“That was my call,” Robinson said.
“There’s no one that’s had a bigger campaign than him since last year and this year. Being captain of us and Origin, it was really simple.
“I felt like the way to get the best footy out of him was to give him the week off and have belief in our team and what we can do and let him get away.
“Everyone has the chance to get away at some point this year in most teams, so I felt like the criticism of him was harsh.It was unwarranted because it was my call and I asked him to go away because I didn’t want him around.
“The heat then comes when we don’t get the result. It had nothing to do with him.”
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Tedesco will return for Saturday’s trip to the Gold Coast, but halfback Sam Walker won’t be there as he continues to recover from an ACL sprain that has kept him out for months.
His prolonged absence has led to reports that he could miss the rest of the season, with the club unlikely to risk him if they can’t make the finals.
Robinson hasn’t given up on a top eight finish despite starting the round in the bottom four, but he couldn’t provide an exact return date when asked about Walker.
“He’s in between playing next week and being done for the season, that’s where it’s at the moment,” he joked.
“He’s got back to full training, but it’s just that top end bit (that he can’t do). It’s not something to muck around with.
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“We’re actually doing a couple of final tests just to make sure whether it is right to get back on the field, or whether he needs some more time or a longer period of time out.
“We should know more by mid next week.”
The Roosters will spend the week in Queensland, with Walker set to spend a few days with his family in Ipswich as the club prepares to run a few more tests to ensure his ligament is functioning properly.
“It’s not even close to an operation. It’s not severe like that,” Robinson said.
“But we need to take every measure to make sure it doesn’t go down that line.”
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