The Sydney Roosters lost Victor Radley and Sam Verrills to suspected anterior cruciate ligament tears during their 26-12 win over St George Illawarra, as Western Sydney Stadium management insist their turf is stable.
- Victor Radley and Sam Verrills both left the field in the first half with serious knee injuries
- The Roosters reportedly issued an official complaint about the playing surface
- Winger Suliasi Vunivalu scored a hat-trick in the Storm’s 50-6 win over the Warriors
Radley and Verrills were injured in the opening 22 minutes, with the ground at Western Sydney Stadium looking patchy following its recent heavy workload.
Radley went down after charging out of the line in defence in the eighth minute.
Verrills followed him 14 minutes later, going down as he took a simple run mid-field and falling before the defensive line.
The Roosters reportedly launched an official complaint about the playing surface, but a stadium spokesman defended the ground conditions.
“The stadium turf has been holding up well under a heavy playing schedule,” the spokesman said.
“Signs of wear and tear are a result of the winter rye grass not getting sufficient time to grow between events, but pre-game testing indicates the surface is stable and safe.
“Any injuries to players are a concern. The stadium team will work with the NRL and clubs to ensure the best possible surface for each and every game.”
With NRL venues limited during the coronavirus, there will have been 11 matches in 22 days at Western Sydney Stadium by the end of this weekend.
There are three more scheduled for next weekend, with clubs preferring the venue given it can host 7,500 spectators from next month, around three times more than suburban grounds.
The NRL moved a fixture from Campbelltown to Kogarah this weekend in a bid to play on a fresh surface.
Already without James Tedesco (concussion) and Josh Morris (calf) the Roosters were stretched to the limit in terms of player availability.
Both teams scored two tries in the opening 40 minutes to go to half-time level at 10-10.
Brett Morris had the Roosters’ first when they spread the ball across field, allowing him to bounce his way across the line.
Joseph Manu, deputising for Tedesco at full-back, then had one of the plays of the season for the Roosters’ second.
The Dragons hit back when Dufty cut out two men with a bullet pass to put Mikaele Ravalawa over on the left wing.
Dufty was in the centre of the action again for the Dragons’ second, when he found a flying Zac Lomax who ran a nice inside line to go over and level the scores.
A sole penalty goal to Lomax provided the Dragons with their only points of the second half, as Morris completed a hat-trick and Luke Keary also crossed the stripe for the Roosters.
Storm thump Warriors
The Melbourne Storm have wasted no time making themselves at home in Sydney, wiping the floor with the Warriors 50-6 at Kogarah Oval.
Two days after being forced to leave Victoria indefinitely due to a spike in coronavirus cases, the Storm ran in nine tries to snap a two-match losing run.
Suliasi Vunivalu netted his sixth career hat-trick, Ryan Papenhuyzen and Paul Momirovski nabbed two each, while Jahrome Hughes tallied four try assists.
The Warriors, playing in their first match since the shock sacking of coach Stephen Kearney, simply had no answers for a ruthless Storm attack.
The victory for the Storm may have come at a cost however, with star five-eighth Cameron Munster suffering a suspected knee injury.
Munster was caught awkwardly in a Karl Lawton tackle in the fourth minute on Friday and played out the rest of the half, but was interchanged at half-time.
Despite the one-sided scoreline, the early signs were promising for the Warriors, who themselves have spent almost two months away from home due to international travel restrictions.
Todd Payten’s side had 20 plays inside the opposition 20-metre zone during the opening 15 minutes but had nothing to show for their efforts.
Twice they were denied on opposite corners inside the opening seven minutes, before a 60-metre kick return from Josh Addo-Carr ended in Momirovski’s first try.
It was all one-way traffic thereafter, with Vunivalu, Papenhuyzen and Momirovski — with his second try in his first appearance for the club — all crossing in a seven-minute blitz.
Warriors winger Patrick Herbert finally got his team on the scoresheet when he scored two minutes into the second half.
The Storm were unmoved, however, with Papenhuyzen completing his brace three minutes later, and Vunivalu adding two more in the space of three minutes.
Brandon Smith and Addo-Carr completed the rout for the Storm, who also had prop Christian Welch fail a concussion test early.