Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson has guaranteed the long-term future of Aidan Guerra at the NRL club despite dropping the Queensland Origin back-rower to reserve grade.
While contracted until next year, rumblings about the 28-year-old future’s began after Robinson axed him for Sunday’s clash with North Queensland at Allianz Stadium.
Robinson has drawn a line in the sand following the side’s run this year, which has them at 15th on the ladder and heading for their worst season in 50 years.
But he says Guerra has been excluded on form alone and denies he’s being shopped around to rival clubs.
“That’s not true at all,” he said when asked if the former Australian representative’s time at the club was coming to an end.
“As soon as you drop a senior player and an international player like that, it’s often tough.
“But it’s purely based on form and hopefully it’s for this week.”
With just four wins in 2016, the Roosters still need two more victories to avoid their worst season since the club’s 1966 winless campaign, according to Fox Sports Stats.
The Roosters will this week be buoyed by the return of halfback Mitchell Pearce, who was absent during last week’s deflating 38-18 loss to Penrith, while prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is also a big inclusion.
North Queensland are coming off their first back-to-back losses of the year and need two points to stay in touch with the top four.
Cowboys coach Paul Green says the Roosters are a better side than their position on the ladder suggests and expects them to bounce back with the return of Pearce and Waerea-Hargreaves.
“They’re class players those guys. Mitchell Pearce in particular makes a huge difference to them,” Green said.
“Jared is probably their forward leader there. He loves the physicality of the game so they’ll improve that team immensely.”
STATS THAT MATTER
* The Roosters’ eight losses this season by four points or less is the equal second most in premiership history. The 2007 Cronulla side had more with nine.
* The Roosters have the worst completion rate in the competition at 71.7 per cent.
* The Cowboys have won just three of 10 away matches in 2016.
Source: Fox Sports Stats