The Roosters' dreadful injury toll continued to mount as they grinded out a bitter-sweet 28-8 victory over the Knights on the Sunshine Coast tonight.
Centre Billy Smith finished his night when he suffered a right ankle injury in the 16th minute, before winger Matt Ikuvalu became another casualty when his left ankle buckled in the 34th minute.
Heading into the game, the Roosters had already lost Luke Keary (knee), Lindsay Collins (knee) and Joseph Suaalii (foot) for the season, while Boyd Cordner (concussion), Jake Friend (concussion) and Brett Morris (knee) had had mid-season retirements.
"He is in great distress," said Fox League commentator Warren Smith as Ikuvalu received medical attention on the field.
"He knew straight away, Matt Ikuvalu. Massive issue.
"This cursed season, as far as injuries go for the Roosters, just knows no end. It's unbelievable."
Storm and Roosters legend Cooper Cronk put the losses of Smith and Ikuvalu in perspective.
"Normally across a team you can cover one injury to one of the outside backs because Angus Crichton has that flexibility," Cronk said.
"But when you lose two you then start getting pretty thin.
"They've got Lachlan Lam on the bench who can potentially play in the centres and (you can) move Joseph Manu out to a wing position.
"So now both edges of the Sydney Roosters are quite vulnerable when it comes to the Newcastle Knights trying to pick them apart with new defensive combinations."
Smith's ankle injury follows two ACL ruptures and a shoulder reconstruction, a horrible run that's limited him to just five NRL games since debuting in 2019.
"He cannot take a trick as far as injuries are concerned here ," Fox League's Smith said.
"He limps off the field here early on."
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