Less than an hour after Sharks veteran Dale Finucane was concussed for the second time this season and hurt his knee in the same tackle, Radley was helped from the field with an ankle injury as the Blues’ middle forward stocks took a huge hit.
Radley, who was robbed of an Origin debut last year after his night of madness against the Broncos, was in the frame as a bench option for Fittler in 2022.
But his immediate playing future is in severe doubt after falling awkwardly in a tackle as he tried to pop an offload for NSW and Roosters captain James Tedesco. He watched the rest of the game in a moon boot on the sidelines.
The play resulted in Eels centre Tom Opacic being sin-binned for tackling Tedesco without the ball, and the Roosters made Parramatta pay with a resulting penalty goal and exquisite Sam Walker solo try while Brad Arthur’s team were down to 12 men.
“You usually have to pry injuries out of him, but for him to come off [is a concern],” Robinson said.
Suaalii, who was granted a rare exemption to make his NRL debut before his 18th birthday last year, scored a simple try after Joseph Manu’s flick pass rolled underneath teammate Sitili Tupouniua’s hands, but it was nothing like his aerial feats shortly afterwards.
While the Broncos have been rejuvenated with Adam Reynolds at No.7, Sam Walker’s return to Brisbane was almost as impressive as he similarly scored a scintillating chip-and-chase try as the Eels crashed back to earth after last week’s stunning win over Penrith.
“Our start was poor and I think the games we’ve lost this year we’ve been beaten to the punch at the start of the game,” Eels coach Brad Arthur said. “I was happy we had that fight in us in the second half, but you can’t give a good team like that a start.
“Our defence is not at the standard that is good enough. Twenty-four points should be enough to win a game of footy. It was a great try [from Suaalii]. There’s not a lot we could have done on that play, but the two plays before them have to be better. The kick was perfect and he executed it really well.”
Spotting Parramatta fullback Clint Gutherson defending in the line, 19-year-old Walker kicked over the Eels co-captain and regathered before a last-minute first-half field goal padded the lead to 15 points. Walker finished the game with 15 points of his own.
Waerea-Hargreaves (crusher tackle) and Eels five-eighth Dylan Brown (high shot) finished the match on report.
SYDNEY ROOSTERS 31(Joseph Suaalii 2, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, James Tedesco, Sam Walker tries; Sam Walker 5 goals, field goal) defeated PARRAMATTA EELS 24 (Isaiah Papali’i 2, Mitchell Moses, Ryan Matterson tries; Moses 4 goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Adam Gee. Crowd: 40,843.
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