Roosters hooker Heath L'Estrange was forced to leave the field after just 15 minutes on Saturday night with what is believed to be a season-ending ACL injury. Credit: Grant Trouville. Copyright: NRL Photos
Roosters coach Trent Robinson says he won't be tempted into rushing hooker Jake Friend back from injury despite losing back-up rake Heath L'Estrange with a possible season-ending ACL injury.
L'Estrange came off limping in the early stages of the Roosters' 48-4 rout of the Tigers on Saturday night, with utility Mitchell Aubusson filling in at dummy half for the remainder of the match.
"Unfortunately Heath went down there and I had to fill in the rest of the game. It was something I haven't really ever done before, but it was interesting. Thank God we scored a few tries there and it made it a little bit easier for me," Aubusson said.
"I've filled in [there before], but that's definitely the longest time I've ever had to stay in the middle there and play hooker."
Friend has missed the past fortnight with a hamstring injury and while he has since begun running again, Robinson said he won't be risking one of his key contributors for next Sunday's clash against the Warriors in New Zealand.
"We can't push Jake. Not with a hamstring injury. We won't be risking anybody that's not ready," Robinson said.
"He's a chance. He's still hasn't really trained with us, so we'll see. Hopefully it will be [right] but I think we lost Heath L'Estrange tonight, which was disappointing for us and him.
"So [we're] a bit short there but Mitchell Aubusson did a great job filling in there for what ended up being 65 minutes."
Aubusson, primarily a second-rower who made his first grade debut at five-eighth and has spent plenty of time in the centres, said he was willing to do whatever was needed as the team continues its quest for back-to-back premierships.
"I'll back myself to play anywhere for this team. If it's 80 minutes in the middle, I'll do it. All the guys really helped me out [last night]. I was lucky for those guys to be there," he said.
"I debuted at five-eighth [and] that was interesting. I've never really played there either, so I think I've played every position bar front row in this club.
"I've had to fill in at fullback... It's been an interesting couple of years but I've enjoyed the different challenges of playing different positions."
The Roosters have an eight-day turnaround for the Warriors clash, before finishing the regular season with blockbusters against the Storm and Rabbitohs.