Roosters could be forced to look to youth

Ryan Matterson could be named in the starting line-up for Sydney Roosters in the NRL grand final.
Ryan Matterson could be named in the starting line-up for Sydney Roosters in the NRL grand final.

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson could be forced to turn to a player with less than 10 NRL appearances to his name should Cooper Cronk miss out on the grand final.

Cronk's rehabilitation from a damaged rotator cuff in his left shoulder will continue on Monday, but the superstar halfback faces an uphill battle to be fit to play in his eighth season decider against his former club Melbourne on Sunday.

Such a figure would be a record for a halfback, but instead Robinson faces the prospect of bringing in an outgoing youngster to replace him.

With Luke Keary already declaring he's ready to stand up and take control, either Ryan Matterson or Sean O'Sullivan will likely play alongside him in the biggest game of their careers.

Matterson would be the more likely choice after he replaced an injured Keary just last month, but he has only played eight games at five-eighth and one at halfback in his three-year NRL career.

The 23-year-old - who played under-20s in the halves for NSW - will join Wests Tigers next year after acting as a utility for Robinson this season.

Another option could be 20-year-old Sean O'Sullivan, who debuted as a teenager against the Gold Coast in July.

The Brisbane-bound son of former Roosters recruitment manager Peter O'Sullivan has played three other games off the bench this year and could return there on Sunday if Matterson is named in the starting line-up.

Robinson also has former Canberra playmaker Mitch Cornish as an option, however he hasn't been seen in first grade since round one when he replaced Keary.

Keary is confident the Roosters' squad depth would allow them to cope if Cronk didn't recover in time.

"We've done a lot of work this year, (on Saturday night) you see Paul Momirovski come in," Keary said.

"Robbo has obviously got his guys that he trusts. I don't want to talk about if he's going to be out, I'm sure there will be someone Robbo's got in mind.".

Australian Associated Press