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Crichton leaves a big hole for Roosters' run home

With the Roosters opting to take the early plea on Angus Cricton's grade one charge for a crusher tackle, it leaves coach Trent Robinson with a big hole to fill in his forward pack.

Those three games against the Broncos, Dragons and Rabbitohs are close to must-win for the Tricolours if they want to push into the top four by the end of the year and overtake the Eels while holding out the red-hot Sea Eagles.

Sitili Tupouniua will likely have to shift back to the pack after plugging a gap in the centres in round 21, with mid-season recruit Dale Copley a chance of making his return to red, white and blue against the club he departed just a fortnight ago.

"It's the story of the season so far, injuries and people out," utility Lachlan Lam said.

"Every week a new person steps in and that person we have the full trust they're going to do a job for us and we back whoever comes in.

Crichton banned three weeks over crusher

"We have a few boys that are playing back row and have moved in and out of there all year. I'm sure [Trent Robinson] will come up with something."

Prop Isaac Liu said it was frustrating players were missing games for tackles that are very hard to avoid.

"It's a hard one. You're doing your best in the tackle and positions like that are hard to get out of. It's pretty tough to not get yourself into that position but at the same time trying to make a good tackle. It's pretty hard," Liu said.

"[We're a] bit frustrated. It's pretty harsh but at the same time you have to look after players as well. It is what it is, we have to cop it and move on.

"We work on it every week trying to be safe on these tackles and trying to do the right thing ... you just get stuck in a position where you can't win."

Nat Butcher has been playing well on an edge and if Tupouniua returns on the other edge it means Crichton's absence over three games can be filled by a back such as Copley.

The Roosters will be favourites against the Broncos and Dragons but will miss Crichton's presence in round 24 against the high-flying Rabbitohs before getting him back for the final regular season game against Canberra with a top-four spot quite possibly on the line.

Lam said he had no idea what Robinson would do with Crichton's vacant edge spot or if Copley would come into the 17 but backed the veteran outside back to slot in well if picked.

Get Caught Up: Round 21 must-see moments

"He's done it before, he's been at the Roosters before," Lam said.

"He's fitting in like he never left, he knows what it's like to be in this team and what's expected of him and trains like he never left so I'm sure he'll be fine. The maturity and the experience is something that will benefit our team."

Lam was also confident the Roosters would put in a better performance than in their previous meeting with Brisbane, when they handed a shock 34-16 loss in round 11.

"I definitely think we've evolved as a team since then," he said.

"We've spent more time together ... you look at our last month of footy you can see leaps and bounds in our game. I'm sure it will be a different Roosters outfit you see out there on the weekend."

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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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