A contentious cannon-ball style tackle has Manly sweating on the fitness of Dylan Walker, the latest Sea Eagle floored wearing their No.6 jumper, after Trent Barrett only recently raised concerns about the dangerous tackling technique creeping back into the NRL.
Walker sustained a hyper-extended knee late in the Roosters' 22-20 defeat of a gutsy Manly outfit, staying down after a three-man tackle in which Tricolours winger Joey Manu dived and made contact with Walker's legs while teammates Luke Keary and Victor Radley held him up.
The Manly five-eighth played out the game and no penalty was awarded against Manu, whose first contact with Walker came from his own head, colliding just above Walker's right knee.
Walker will be assessed during the week ahead of the Sea Eagles' upcoming clash with Brisbane, though Barrett expects he won't be added to Manly's already bulging casualty ward.
Match highlights: Roosters v Sea Eagles - Round 9, 2018
Speaking after a fifth-straight loss, Barrett revealed he had recently raised the prospect of cannon-ball tackles coming back into the game with NRL referees general manager Tony Archer, though he stressed he was not pointing the finger at Manu or the Roosters.
"I spoke to Arch the other day about that. There's a fair few creeping into the game," Barrett said of the cannon-ball style tackle that was first cracked down on several years ago.
"I'm certainly not having a crack at the Roosters here but they are dangerous.
"I don't want to sit here and whinge but they're a dangerous tackle. If we had of lost Walker there with a knee injury, he hyper-extended his knee pretty bad, it's just a dangerous tackle.
"There is more and more of them creeping in and across the game it's an awful one."
Sea Eagles press conference: Round 9, 2018
Roosters coach Trent Robinson bristled when questioned about Manu's tackle, dismissing the suggestion of a cannon-ball because "his head hit him on the quad above the knees".
Should Walker be scratched from next week's trip to Suncorp Stadium, he would join No.6 predecessor Lachlan Croker (ACL) on the sidelines, further depleting the Sea Eagles already thin playing stocks.
Former schoolboy rugby star Tom Wright would then come into contention for an NRL debut, unless Barrett chooses to recall out-of-favour utility Jackson Hastings.
Manly's attack showed signs of life for the first time in weeks with Walker partnering Daly Cherry-Evans in the halves, with the skipper wryly pointing out the combination was "a vast improvement on 2016" when Walker last filled the role.
Cherry-Evans was in no mood to discuss his shanked conversion from directly in front in the 10th minute, despite it proving the difference in a two-point game.
"If you want to blame the loss on that go for it," Cherry-Evans said.
Match: Roosters v Sea Eagles
Round 9 -
Venue: Allianz Stadium
- Nine Network
- LIVE PASS
Barrett meanwhile was rightly encouraged by his side's commitment to the cause across the tight finish, but bemoaned his team's goal-line defence at crucial junctures.
"The game was there to be won and I thought we were the better team to be honest, we just didn't get away with it in the end," Barrett said.
"That's what I said to them, it will change and if you keep turning up to training like they have been with commitment for each other, we'll win. It's not far away. As a team and individually we've got to take some lessons from it. We're making too many individual errors.
"We let in 12 points today that I don't think they earned, just one on one missed tackles close to the try line. At this level you can't do it. It's a lesson, we'll be better for it. I'll be better for it."