The Sydney Roosters have vowed to move on from the loss of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves for the rest of the NRL season with wrecking ball Sam Moa set to make a timely return.
The side’s talismanic prop will miss the remains of their 2015 campaign after suffering an ACL tear early in Saturday’s 12-10 win over Brisbane at Allianz Stadium.
The Roosters were also without NSW halfback Mitchell Pearce for most of the contest after he suffered a hamstring strain which is set to see him miss three weeks but could also cost him the rest of the year.
Down to two men on the bench, coach Trent Robinson asked his team to make no excuses and they delivered a spirited win which jumped them into top spot.
While Waerea-Hargreaves’s injury is a seismic loss, it is set to be eased with fellow New Zealand international Sam Moa to return from a wrist injury as early as Friday night’s clash with Manly at Brookvale.
Robinson was full of praise after many of his charges were forced to play big minutes and repel one the premiership heavyweights.
“Jimmy Maloney made a big point of it after the game to the forwards that stayed out there and did the job,” Robinson said.
“Nug (hooker Jake Friend) playing his 80, Dylan Napa was huge. (Sio) Siua Taukeiaho, Isaac (Lui), Aidan Guerra, Kane Evans, they worked really hard for each other and got the result.”
In Pearce’s absence, 19-year-old Jackson Hastings assumed the playmaking duties and the side hardly missed a beat.
After debuting in the final round last year, he has filled in as the side’s playmaker during Pearce’s absence this season. He is also expected to shift into the halves fulltime next year when James Maloney moves to Cronulla.
Hastings will don the No.7 jersey for the next several weeks and captain Jake Friend expressed full confidence in him.
“Jimmy (Maloney) was really good and he directed us around,” Friend said.
“I think Jackson Hastings did his role really well and stepped up and kicked well and got the boys around the park.
“It’s pleasing to see him do that straight away this week and he’ll be in there for another couple of weeks.”