Sydney Talented  teenanger set to return ahead of Panthers game after long term injury

Roosters coach Trent Robinson is hopeful Lindsay Collins could be back from a low-grade hamstring strain as early as next week, but the news isn’t as good for a couple of his teammates, with Sandon Smith and the luckless Billy Smith facing extended stints out of the game.

It’s not all bad news, with halfback Sam Walker cleared to play after he was deemed a category 1 concussion victim in the win over South Sydney that would have kept him out for 11 days under the NRL’s mandatory stand-down policy.

Roosters doctors questioned the decision immediately given it was more of a neck issue and that Walker didn’t show any symptoms on the field after he was hit in the head while trying to tackle Jack Wighton.

Robinson has no issue with the independent doctor making calls on concussion given they are impartial, and he’s happy with the process that in the past has granted players like Tom Trbojevic an exemption to return early after being cleared.

He usually wouldn’t have come from the field, but even if he did, he would have come back on,” Robinson said.

“So to go with a category 1, we felt it was too far, and the NRL thought that as well, which was positive because it could have been costly during the game.

“It’s a good process because they are independent. It’s pretty clear that orange shirt (trainers) can’t see everything and they have got a bias towards their team, so it’s good to have an independent doctor to rule on that.

“It’s very rare, but when they overcorrect like they did, I think there have been three or four occasions where they have downgraded it from a category 1 post-game.”

Walker’s return is a boost for the Roosters against the Panthers, but Collins won’t face the defending premiers after he was forced off last week with left hamstring issue.

“It’s quite mild,” Robinson said.


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“There are some positive signs already, but he’s not ready to play.

“There’s a chance (he’ll be back next week) because he’s already back running, so that’s a positive sign.”

The news isn’t as positive for the two Smiths, with Sandon suffering a significant medial ligament injury to his left elbow, while Billy’s rotten luck continued with a serious ankle injury in the NSW Cup.

“It’s a credit to Sandon because he did it in the first half. You could see him pull out of a tackle and started grabbing his elbow. He got it strapped at halftime and he played on because we needed him to play on,” his coach revealed.

“He’s going to be out 4-6 weeks with that injury, which has blown up a lot. It’s a credit to him to brush it aside and go on.

“He (Billy Smith) went up for a high ball, came down and rolled the ankle.

“He was in for surgery on Monday night to take out that piece of bone that got chipped off. It’s disappointing and means a couple of months (out of the game).”

The Roosters will be out to end an eight-game losing streak against a Panthers side that thrashed them 48-4 and 30-6 last season, although Nathan Cleary won’t play after he hurt his hamstring last week.

Robinson declared the halfback the best player in the world, but the Panthers showed last year they could win without him, with Penrith comfortably beating the Roosters at Allianz Stadium.

“We haven’t performed how we want against this team,” Robinson said.

“They’re coming to our home and we want to perform better, so that motivation is really clear for us.”

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