Star halfback Mitchell Pearce is a certain starter for Friday’s NRL preliminary final against Brisbane, coach Trent Robinson declared.
Pearce hasn’t played since the sides last met in round 22 when he suffered a hamstring tear.
The injury kept Pearce sidelined for the Roosters’ 38-12 semi-final win over Canterbury on Friday night, but Robinson said the NSW playmaker will be on deck at Suncorp Stadium against the Broncos in the fight for a spot in the grand final.
“If it was the grand final he would have played (against the Bulldogs),” Robinson said.
“But knowing that he had to get through, we obviously decided we didn’t know if he had two or three weeks in him at the physical stage he is in.
“So we decided to hold back and get a full week’s training out of him next week.”
Jackson Hastings has filled in capably at halfback in the absence of Pearce and was key to the Roosters’ win over the Bulldogs.
Hastings is sure to be kept on Robinson’s bench for the trip to Brisbane as cover for Pearce, but also as a dummy half back-up to Jake Friend.
The Roosters and the Broncos played out two of the closest matches of the year in their regular-season clashes.
Brisbane prevailed 22-18 at Suncorp Stadium in round six on the back of Ben Hunt try in golden point.
The Roosters were 12-10 victors in the late-season clash at Allianz Stadium.