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One tough Rooster: How hobbled Taukeiaho ignored gammy hammy

Trent Robinson has revealed prop Sio Siosiua Taukeiaho had been playing with for more than a month with a hamstring injury, while schoolboy star Joseph Suaali’i had to be persuaded to undergo season-ending foot surgery after a training mishap.

Taukeiaho has been rested from Saturday’s match against North Queensland in Townsville after finally succumbing to a hamstring injury he suffered in the 44-16 defeat of Canberra on May 26.

Roosters skipper James Tedesco has also been given a breather after leading NSW in the Ampol State of Origin series finale on Wednesday night with Joey Manu switching to fullback and Billy Smith earning a reprieve at centre.

Taukeiaho missed the following game against the Titans but has carried the injury into matches against the Panthers, Storm and Bulldogs and Robinson said it was affecting the Tongan international ’s performances as he battled on to help the Roosters through the Origin period.

"He has been carrying a hammy, because of our numbers and through Origin," Robinson said. "He did his hammy in the Canberra game, I didn’t replace him in the second half and he has gone through three games just carrying that.

"He has struggled through the last five weeks and he has shouldered the load there a fair bit while being at 70%.

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"I couldn’t keep doing it to him and he was struggling at the start of that second half [in last Saturday night’s 22-16 defeat of Canterbury] so he just needed some time to recover."

The Roosters will also be without Suaali’i for the rest of the season after the 17-year-old required surgery for a lisfranc fracture in his foot – although he had initially hoped to rest and return in coming weeks.

Robinson said the Roosters were not initially aware of the severity of the injury as he continued training.

"We were doing some edge defence, he was in attack and he just stepped off it," Robinson said.

"He trained for another 10 minutes, it was a little bit sore and we actually didn’t think it was a major, major injury in the sense that he couldn’t finish the session.

"We thought he was going to be fine but because of his age, and also the tenderness of that lisfranc bone, it needed to be repaired to secure that speed and power long term.

"It was quite a simple decision. Joseph just wanted to continue on, he didn’t want to do that but it will give him some time to finish school now, finish his studies and he will be right for pre-season.

"He was OK to keep moving on it, do some rehab and get back to training but he had to see a foot specialist and he came out with a pin in it. It is a 4-5 month recovery."

Meanwhile, Robinson said the Roosters were coming to terms with the restrictions of being in an NRL hub on the Sunshine Coast but he had spoken with some counterparts in AFL about their experiences last season.

"We have talked a lot to different people about moving into this environment and what was successful for them or what created the right environment for them to play well," Robinson said.

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"We are trialling some things and seeing what works. Even just little things like how to create fun. We are walking around with security guards on the outside and naturally trying to make sure we are doing the right thing, so we are walking on egg-shells with masks on.

"You feel that way at the start but it is about how do we create home. How do we create the team room in the right way, how do we have our families around the team room, how do we have some fun while we are here.

"As a staff, how do we get together and get our crew going to pass that energy on to the players. All those things count."

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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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