Roosters fullback James Tedesco believes his team's heavy mid-season injury toll could be a blessing in disguise for the back-to-back premiers heading into the finals.
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Brett Morris returned in Saturday night's 38-16 defeat of Wests Tigers and Roosters coach Trent Robinson said Daniel Tupou (ankle) and Boyd Cordner (concussion) may be available for next weekend's clash with Brisbane.
Dual code superstar Sonny Bill Williams will make his first NRL appearance since 2014 in the following weekend's clash with Canberra, and Kangaroos five-eighth Luke Keary (ribs) is also a chance of playing.
Former NSW second-rower Angus Crichton (knee) and 300-game utility Mitch Aubusson (wrist) are due back before the end of the regular season.
Match Highlights: Wests Tigers v Roosters
"I think our best footy is still ahead of us," said Tedesco, who received a "brutal" reception from unforgiving Tigers fans in his first match against his former club at Leichhardt Oval.
"There are a lot of guys still coming back and we have got Sonny coming in as well so we are going to have a lot of boosts going into the end of the year.
"That's the time you want to be playing your best footy, going into the finals, so I think we are going to keep getting better and better having those guys coming back.
"They are going to be fresh and they are going to ready to go at the end of the year so that is exciting."
In Keary’s absence, it was noticeable that Tedesco played a dual fullback and playmaker role against the Tigers but he revealed that he had been gradually increasing his involvement around the ruck since the Roosters lost Victor Radley with a knee injury in June.
They loved me when I was here but that is certainly not the case nowJames Tedesco on Wests Tigers fans
"I have just been trying to work on that a bit," Tedesco said.
"Not having Rads there, he was our ball playing middle so I am just trying to find that middle link and have those combinations with our middles.
"I'm just trying to get our forwards moving onto the ball and if there is a quick play-the-ball trying to get us on a roll-on. I think it has been continuously getting better every week."
Tedesco ran 206 metres with the ball, made two line breaks, one line-break assist and six tackle breaks to silence the vocal Tigers fans who let him know they had not forgiven the Dally M Medalist for leaving the club at the end of the 2017 season.
It was Tedesco's first match against the Tigers at Leichhardt Oval and he was loudly jeered after conceding an early penalty, while they crowd cheered a heavy tackle on the Australian and NSW fullback by Luke Garner.
"I got sprayed the whole game. They were pretty brutal, the old Tigers fans," Tedesco said.
"Obviously I had forgotten what they can be like. When they are telling you to break a leg and that, it's a bit heavy but that's the passion of the Tigers fans.
"They loved me when I was here but that is certainly not the case now that I'm not here.”