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Roosters wounded but far from feather dusters: Matterson

The Roosters have been battered from pillar to post but remain in title contention and are still very much a threat to an opposition in the eyes of Ryan Matterson.

It's been three years since the Parramatta forward left the Roosters on a high after winning a premiership and he still has nothing but compliments for the club.

Matterson's Eels, having lost just once this season, are heavy favourites to topple the injury-ravaged Tricolours in Friday night's clash at Bankwest Stadium.

But the Parramatta second-rower knows victory won't come easily despite torn ACLs to Brett Morris and Lindsay Collins plus a torn retina for Sam Verrills on Saturday night and a suspension to Sitili Tupouniua sending them onto a list of unavailable Roosters stars, which also includes co-captains Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend, Freddy Lussick, Billy Smith and Luke Keary.

James Tedesco (head knock) and Lachlan Lam (knee) have been named to return in the squad to face the Eels on Friday night.

"One thing about the Roosters is you don't underestimate them because they've always got someone to come up and fill that role and they'll always do their job," Matterson said.

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What is it that makes Trent Robinson's team so professional?

"It comes back to knowing your role," said Matterson, who debuted for the Roosters in 2016 and played 60 NRL games in red, white and blue.

"Everyone knows their job. But it's not just the players, it's the coaching staff there, it's the office staff – even the receptionists. They're really good people.

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"They built the club ground-up and that's something that all NRL clubs aspire to be. That's something that the Parramatta Eels are heading towards."

Eels winger Blake Ferguson was another member of that champion 2018 Roosters outfit and remains close with some of their players.

"We've still got an NFL Fantasy group from 2017 or 2016. We're pretty close and I can't wait to get out there," Ferguson told

Ferguson departed for Parramatta in 2019 and was replaced by Brett Morris, who he played alongside for NSW in State of Origin.

When Morris went down with a potentially career-ending ACL injury in last week's win over Newcastle, Ferguson was quick to send him a message.

"I just said how much of an amazing career he's had and that type of stuff," Ferguson said.

"He texted me back the next morning and just said, 'Thanks Ferg, appreciate it'. I'll catch up with him, we both live in the [Sutherland] Shire."

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Matterson and Ferguson believe the Eels are a better team compared to last season.

"It's definitely a lot calmer. I feel like everyone knows their role. It's a clearer place to be," Matterson said.

"I feel like it's a happier place to be here as well compared to when I was here years ago. The club's definitely taking the foot in the right direction, so to speak.

"People have grown up, they're more mature. With experience comes wisdom. We've got a good crew here and we've got some good coaches."

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But Ferguson is aware Parramatta aren't the finished product.

"I think we need to keep working on a few things in defence," he said.

"We let in 10 points on the weekend [in a win over the Bulldogs]. Two tries they shouldn't have scored through either numbers or some systematic stuff."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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