Roosters veteran Josh Morris has hit back at those writing off the side's 2021 campaign after just three rounds following the season-ending knee injury to Luke Keary.
The injury-hit Roosters will seek an exemption from the NRL to bring in two NSW Cup players from the North Sydney Bears as they have only 19 fit players available for selection for their round-four clash with the Warriors.
A squad of 21 players from the squad's top 30 must be named on Tuesday afternoon unless given an exemption to call in development or fringe players.
The Tricolours trained with new halves pairing Sam Walker and Drew Hutchison on Monday morning after Keary and Lachlan Lam's knee diagnoses were confirmed over the weekend.
Keary's injury in particular has many onlookers declaring the Roosters' premiership chances over without their dominant playmaker but Morris, who is chasing his own first title, remained optimistic.
"I don't think anyone can write us off just yet," Morris said.
Josh Morris scores on full time for the Roosters
"If you write us off well then it's at your own peril. We've just got to move on. Whilst it's disappointing for Luke it gives someone else an opportunity to come in and play football as well."
Keary will undergo follow-up scans to determine his surgery options, while Lam is facing more than a month on the sidelines with a medial ligament injury.
Adding to the club's woes, Roosters prop Lindsay Collins was sporting a moonboot to help with an ankle problem as he sat out the side's first training session of the week also due to the concussion he suffered against the Rabbitohs.
Keary leaves field after clutching at knee
The latest injury woes add to a list that includes co-captains Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend, who continue to be rested following past concussions.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson, who was in attendance at the launch of former forward Mose Masoe's donation appeal during the side's training session, confirmed Walker was set for an NRL debut.
"I think he is ready, the way that he has trained and the way he has played in reserve grade, and even in the trial in Canberra, he is ready to go," he said.
"There are a few injuries that we didn't want to happen and now we're down to a really good team that we'll still put on the park, we're just short in a few positions.
Stand-in Roosters captain James Tedesco said Walker's style of play reminded him of Keary and believed the 18-year-old was able to step up and lead the side.
"He's a small frame but the way he plays and trains at the Bears has really stood out and impressed a lot of us," Tedesco said.
"He's similar to Keary, he just plays footy and has a great pass and kicking game. The way he runs and plays eyes up footy and executes plays is pretty impressive.
Match Highlights: Rabbitohs v Roosters
"We're all excited for him to play. It's probably happened sooner than he and a lot of us thought but that's footy I guess.
"Experience is one thing he doesn't have but he's going to be getting plenty of games it looks like this year so that's exciting."
In better news, Robinson expects Victor Radley to return after last week's false start due to a minor shoulder injury, while Sam Verills is expected back next month.
Robinson added teenage sensation Joseph Suaalii would be included in the squad but was unlikely to play given the club's outside back stocks were not as limited.
Meanwhile, Morris addressed an incident from last week in which he was threatened online by a punter on social media after failing to score a try in the side's round two win over the Wests Tigers.
Every try from round 3
"When you get talked to like that it's not nice," he said.
"I've heard of a few players getting messages like that as well. It's disappointing, you're not thinking about winning or losing people's money. You just want to go out and win a footy game every week.
"That's a hard enough job as it is. It's also about setting an example to my daughter and young fella as well, teaching them that behaviour is not on and to stand up for yourself."
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