Resting Roosters recharge for title push

The week off will be just perfect for injured Roosters Jake Friend (l) and Boyd Cordner (r).
The week off will be just perfect for injured Roosters Jake Friend (l) and Boyd Cordner (r).

Sydney Roosters star James Tedesco believes their NRL finals rest has come at the perfect time for co-captains Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend.

Cordner (calf) and Friend (arm) are dealing with injury issues but are expected to be available for the defending premiers' preliminary final in two weeks.

They now await the winner of the semi-final between Melbourne and Parramatta.

The week off will be especially handy for Cordner, who played just 34 minutes before straining his quad in their qualifying final win over South Sydney.

"He should be sweet. The week off definitely helps him," Tedesco said on Monday.

"He seems to be walking around fine and I don't think there's any doubt Boyd will be doing everything he can to get back. I'm sure he'll be back."

Friend's return would be a significant boost, having made just five appearances this year due to a torn bicep and fractured arm.

His comeback was delayed when he suffered an infection in the arm a few weeks ago, but has since been in full training for the past fortnight.

"He looks pretty good as well. He done a lot of training last week," Tedesco said.

"He'll be doing everything he can in the next two weeks to be out there. It'll definitely be great to have him back."

Friend's inclusion creates a selection headache for coach Trent Robinson given the 29-year-old's lack of match fitness.

Fill-in hooker Sam Verrills could be selected as a reserve, but Robinson usually opts for four large forwards on the bench.

Other options include omitting the 19-year-old Verrills and relying on the versatility of Victor Radley or Mitch Aubusson.

"Obviously it'd be a massive lift. He's one of our leaders, one of our captains," second-rower Angus Crichton said of Friend's expected return.

"He's a great man to have on the footy field when you're on his team.

"Obviously we won't be forcing anything, but if he's up to scratch, that's a decision for the physios and doctors to make."

Tedesco, who has played 25 of a possible 28 games, including three State of Origin matches, also welcomed the week off.

"We've got a few guys with a few niggles and just to have a rest in general, especially for myself, it's been a long year," he said.

"For everyone to refresh mentally and physically, it's important for us.

"The body's actually feeling good for the amount of games and work I've done.

"I've obviously been looking after it quite a bit and doing everything I need to do to keep the body fresh and be ready every week."

Australian Associated Press