Sydney Roosters duo Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Boyd Cordner are eyeing off an Anzac Day return from injury after finally returning to full training with the NRL club.
Representative forwards Waerea-Hargreaves and Cordner are yet to play in 2016 due to respective knee and pectoral injuries but they resumed full training with the Roosters on Friday night.
They won’t be right to face Penrith in the final match of round seven at Allianz Stadium on Monday night, according to coach Trent Robinson.
However they could return the week after in the Roosters’ Anzac Day clash with St George Illawarra.
“They won’t be back this week, it would be nice, they are close but it won’t happen this week,” Robinson said at the Roosters Moore Park base on Sunday morning.
“There is usually a last stage to get ticked off by our physio and doctor and that is where they are at, at the moment. They are both back into full training with us as of Friday night and they are both pretty close to a return.”
The Roosters’ forward depth with be further tested for the clash with Penrith after Sio Siua Taukeiaho was ruled out for around a month with a knee injury.
Mitchell Frei comes into the 17.
The Panthers welcome back Tyrone Peachey and Elijah Taylor from injury onto an extended bench.
The last-placed Roosters’ sole win thus far in 2016 came in their last-start 17-10 defeat of South Sydney.
Unlucky Penrith, who sit third last, have endured a number of close losses and have enjoyed wins over Brisbane and Parramatta.
“They have been playing really well,” Robinson said.
“A very similar style, they have been competing really hard, they have been in all games.
“(Fullback Matt) Moylan coming back for them last week has been important, there are some good combinations there.
“Obviously moving Wallace into the hooker is another move to create some movement of ball.”
* Under coach Robinson the Roosters have won five of six matches against the Panthers, with their only loss coming in week one of the 2014 Finals series. Four of those wins have been by 20 points or larger margins
* The Roosters have won all seven Monday Night matches at Allianz under Robinson, Penrith has won just one of its past five Monday Night fixtures since late 2014
* Penrith is making the most offloads of any team this season at 14.2 per game, but they are also conceding the second most at 12 per game.
* The Panthers are missing the most tackles of any team this season at 33.5 per game, five more per game on average than the next worst team the Titans.
Source: Fox Sports Stats