Roosters coach Trent Robinson is sick of his players constantly getting hit in the head with no repercussions after rising star Sam Walker was collected high, sparking an all-in scuffle during his side’s 46-0 loss to the Storm in Newcastle.
The young halfback appeared to clash heads with Christian Welsh as the Storm prop came in to tackle Walker after he put up a towering kick. His teammates were quick to rush to his aid, with senior players James Tedesco, Angus Crichton and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves all involved in the melee.
No action was taken, but the Roosters did lose Daniel Suluka-Fifita later in the second half for a late shot that caught Cameron Munster high.
“I didn’t like that challenge – the kicking one,” a frustrated Robinson said.
“He kicked the ball, and he got hit in the head after he kicked the ball. I’m sick of talking about Roosters players and head contact.”
Walker is supremely talented and has shown his attacking prowess when the Roosters are on the front foot, but the brave 78kg teenager has struggled at times to match it with some of the competition’s behemoths.
The good teams will send plenty of traffic his way, and he also found out it’s unwise to hold onto the ball too long when Justin Olam is in the area.
“Olam’s was a real physical shot. When you’re not looking and they come from a distance and they get you, it definitely takes the wind out of you,” his coach said with a slight chuckle.
“He’s got footy courage. But he’s learning some awesome lessons on both sides. I thought he kept playing the longer the game went, and his defence got better. But along with a lot of our guys, it wasn’t good enough for a long period of time.”
The Roosters and Storm clash in Newcastle featured a melee. Picture: Ashley Feder / Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Walker has been a shining light in what’s been a difficult year for a Roosters side that has lost a lot of seasoned veterans to retirement, but Robinson isn’t giving up two months out from the finals.
Their famed defence has come unstuck a number of times this year against the top teams, and the Roosters will slip to sixth if the Sea Eagles beat the Bulldogs by 12 points on Saturday.
“You always believe in yourself. No one can ask us to stop believing in ourselves. The competition’s not over,” their defiant coach said.
“I should be saying something different, but you have to believe in yourself. You have to believe in the ability to change things in your favour, and we will.
“That’s not hiding from the fact that we’ve been well beaten in the last two games by the top two teams. But the game’s not over.”
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