Dan Walsh, NRL.com
Injuries to key NSW candidates James Maloney and Michael Jennings have the potential to throw Laurie Daley's Origin preparations into disarray as the Roosters turned in what Trent Robinson deemed their best performance of the year thus far.
Maloney could be facing up to six weeks on the sidelines if scans confirm a suspected Grade 2 AC joint injury to his left shoulder sustained late in the Roosters' 34-14 win over the Dragons, which would rule him out of the interstate series opener at Suncorp Stadium on May 28th.
Roosters doctor Ameer Ibrahim said the injury would take at least 2-3 weeks to heal, making Maloney unavailable for next Sunday's City Country clash in Dubbo.
Ibrahim confirmed Jennings, the incumbent NSW left centre, would also miss the Origin trial with a medial ligament sprain in his ankle, an injury likely to keep Jennings out of action for 1-2 weeks.
The injuries will be particularly hard to cop for Daley as while both players were under pressure to retain their spots following the Roosters' sluggish start to the year, both Jennings and Maloney were impressive in the six-tries-to-three thumping that saw the premiers retain the Anzac Cup in front of 38,784 at Allianz Stadium.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson said he was pleased with his side's execution in one of the biggest occasion's on rugby league's calendar.
"There's no doubt that playing Anzac Day, the occasion is more important than the game," said Robinson.
"Most teams don't miss the emotional side of today, but that doesn't mean you're going to execute always how you want.
"It means you're going to have a lot of effort but to then execute like we did, it's been some hard work over a month or so to get to that point.
"It was nice for us to play our footy again."
Robinson didn't hesitate in declaring the win the Roosters best performance of the season, one that will give the side some much needed momentum as the players take a few days off over the representative round break.
"I think that was our best [performance] this year," said Robinson.
"I think it was our combination over the last few weeks of the footy that we're playing and the footy that we're trying to play and it looked like us tonight.
"Guys turned up in the right spots, they had confidence to throw those passes and we got some nice points out of it."
Roosters hooker Nathan Friend was awarded the Ashton-Collier Anzac medal as man of the match, in a strong performance that featured an opportunistic 43rd-minute try where the young rake chased through his own grubber, as well as 41 tackles.
"That's great vision from a hooker," Robinson said of Friend's individual try which pushed the Roosters lead to 16 immediately after halftime.
"To do what he did there, no one does that.
"We just don't see that in our game. Dugan was defending in the line a lot and organising his line, and Nug (Friend) took the opportunity and you've got to be courageous to put that ball down under that pressure."