Roosters hopeful of dodging wooden spoon - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Roosters hopeful of dodging wooden spoon

23/06/2009 07:21:19 PM Comments (0)

Sydney Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce says the last-placed NRL club are more hopeful than confident they can avoid the dreaded wooden spoon this year.

Anchored at the foot of the NRL table and two wins behind 15th place, the Roosters face a must-win clash with red-hot Cronulla on Saturday night that could effectively seal their fate as wooden spooners.

The Sharks have ridden a four-game winning streak out of the doldrums to sit two wins ahead of the Roosters, while Canberra, Wests Tigers and Parramatta are also struggling near the foot of the table.

But a seventh straight loss by the Roosters on Saturday could leave them six points behind the pack and with a horror points differential with 10 rounds remaining.

Adding to the Roosters' misery, skipper Braith Anasta will miss the rest of the season following surgery to insert seven pins and one plate into his badly broken leg.

Setaimata Sa will replace Anasta at five-eighth, while former Test star Willie Mason is a 90 per cent chance of returning after resting with knee soreness.

"Braith is our best player and it's going to be a challenge," said Pearce.

"We've got nothing to lose, we're coming last so the only way is up.

"We haven't had a meeting about it (avoiding the wooden spoon) as such but it's definitely on everybody's mind. I don't think you want to go into mad Monday with a wooden spoon.

"We will do everything we can to get off that.

"Cronulla are only four points in front of us now and if they beat us we will be six points on the bottom of the ladder.

"This is a must win for us.

"It's a big challenge but everyone is willing to rip in."

Pearce feels success isn't far away, with the Roosters falling one try short of victory in their past two outings against top rated sides.

"The morale was probably down a bit when we went through that rough period but the last three weeks we've been competing well," said Pearce.

"Everyone is happy, everyone is surprisingly still pretty positive.

"I think we'll finish the year strongly."

The Sharks will be boosted by the return of Origin duo Paul Gallen and Trent Barrett to the side which belted Brisbane 46-12 on Monday night.

In other team news, Bulldogs centre Daryl Millard will replace injured young star Jamal Idris in Friday's clash with North Queensland at ANZ Stadium, while Queensland prop Ben Hannant returns for Chris Armit.

South Sydney named NSW utility Craig Wing to play in the Rabbitohs' Monday night clash with Newcastle, less than 24 hours after Wing was ruled out of State of Origin II with a hamstring strain.

Wing was unable to prove his fitness for Wednesday's Origin clash and is unlikely to recover in time to face the Knights at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

Struggling Canberra have made some changes to their side to host Melbourne on Sunday with rookie fullback Josh Dugan recalled after David Milne was ruled out for three weeks with a groin injury.

Coach David Furner has rearranged his forward pack with David Shillington and Troy Thompson to start in the front row, Dane Tilse moving to the bench and Scott Logan dropped to the Queensland Cup for the return of Nigel Plum.

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