Trent Robinson has watched Joey Manu come through the grades and yet the Roosters coach is still constantly astounded by the Kiwi international's wide skill set.
Manu was outstanding in Saturday night's thumping 44-16 win over the Raiders as he moved from centre to five-eighth to deputise for rested halfback Sam Walker at Central Coast Stadium.
The 24-year-old bagged a double while 17-year-old centre Joseph Suaalii collected his first NRL try in his second game.
The pair helped the Roosters overcome a 10-0 deficit after 29 minutes as Canberra continued their trend of fading out.
Robinson confirmed lock Isaac Liu went to hospital to have an eye haematoma drained but said star fullback James Tedesco was fine after briefly coming off in the first half with a hip pointer injury.
Match: Roosters v Raiders
Round 12 -
Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
The mentor described Manu as "unnatural but classy ".
"You never stop [being] amazed by different things he'll do or come with up," Robinson said post-match on Saturday night.
"He just has those moments. He has them at training, he has them at games. It was great to get him closer to the ball tonight and allow him to come up with different plays that really advanced our game."
Roosters get around Suaalii after he scores his first NRL try
Manu said he trained at five-eighth at the start of the week and found out on Thursday that he'd be playing in the halves.
With the Roosters having the bye next round, Manu will head home to New Zealand for the first time since Christmas in 2019 to catch up with his family and see his newborn nephew.
"With a lot of injuries this year, I've learnt to adapt during games. Once I get that full-week prep I feel like I'm a lot better," he said
Manu with the freakish offload for Tupouniua
"I just like playing footy, I'm a footy player."
Walker, who was nursing shoulder and ankle niggles, will return for the round 14 clash with the Titans, according to Robinson.
Both he and Manu were impressed with Suaali
"He had a few good touches and he was awesome in defence. I'm really happy to see him playing well," Manu said.
"He enjoyed it, he was happy, brought a lot of energy. He's still got a long way to go and he's looking good."
Despite being low on troops, with key forwards Victor Radley and Angus Crichton suspended, Robinson was pleased for the likes of Adam Keighran and Fletcher Baker to play increased minutes while veteran prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves lasted the whole match.
If it's not Manu, it's Tedesco
Meanwhile, Raiders prop Ryan James will come under scrutiny after being sin-binned for kneeing Waerea-Hargreaves in the head in the 35th minute. It proved a costly moment and the floodgates opened.
The Raiders, who endured a testing week with the abrupt and messy release of halfback George Williams, had their own injury concern in the form of firebrand Corey Horsburgh (wrist).
Suaalii warming to the task as he puts Tupouniua over for his second
Hooker Josh Hodgson opened the scoring before Horsburgh extended the lead for the visitors but from there it was all the Roosters.
Sitili Tupouniua scored a brace and Lachlan Lam, Daniel Tupou and Josh Morris also claimed four-pointers.
James gave Canberra the faintest of heartbeats when he crossed in the 52nd minute but more Manu brilliance – touching down after soaring to catch his own bomb – put the result beyond doubt.
Joseph Manu can do everything!