NRL Physio: Sydney Roosters injury profiles

The highly reputable Brien Seeney, better known as 'NRL Physio', provides an injury profile on the Sydney Roosters, including the Supercoach impact.

NRL Pre-season

The injury profiles below will help you determine which players have identifiable injury or physical performance risk heading into this Supercoach season.

They will also highlight those players who might be undervalued due to an incorrect notion that they are injury prone, or overvalued as they are likely to gradually return from injury. 

Injury history, rehab status, and physical condition are significant factors to consider when trying to predict how well a player is likely to perform in a given season. This is only part of the story though, with many more factors needing to be considered, such as:

  • Past performance (were they having a breakout season before injury?)
  • Strength of schedule (how many byes do they have during Origin time?)
  • Team prospects (will the Bulldogs attack improve?)
  • Likely workload (age, change in team role/dynamics)
  • Changes in support staff (like the Titans defense-focused hires)
  • Personal motivation (is it a contract year?)

These profiles won’t reveal the whole story. I could tell you I have no concerns about Nathan Cleary’s physical performance or re-injury risk heading into the season, but he could play every game while the Panthers have a massive drop in form and finish 10th with Cleary averaging 50ppg. You never know…

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Random injuries happen in contact sports. 60-80% of the players in this document will suffer injuries in 2023 that result in missed game time, with an average of two injuries per game. Each time a player walks onto the field there’s roughly a 5% chance of sustaining an injury. 

Some clubs like to play smoke and mirrors with their injury info, complications can occur in rehab, and freak outliers do happen. Reimis Smith had two pec ruptures in one season!

Unfortunately I can’t perfectly predict who will and won’t get injured in 2023, but I can guarantee that I’ve given these profiles my all and have held nothing back. You’ll know what I know.

*NOTEWhen I use terms like performance/workload/output, this is info that generally correlates to fantasy averages, and often I’m referring directly to fantasy scoring.

Injury history, expected recovery time and performance on return from injury are all extremely vital factors in a player’s SuperCoach prospects and scoring. Over at NRL Physio’s patreon this is explained for every injured player during the season in easy to understand ways to allow you to make the best decisions for your team. If you want a leg up on your opponents in NRL SuperCoach or you are interested in the world behind injuries, rehab and return to performance then this is for you! More here.

Sydney Roosters

PlayerCorey Allan
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2022 – groin injury, hamstring injury2021 – AC joint sprain grade 2, concussion
2023 expectations2022 a real write off for Allan, restricted to just 7 games after a significant hamstring injury early and a groin strain in mid-season that lingered/took much longer than expected to come back from. Some lingering re-injury risk likely there due to lengthy recovery
PlayerFletcher Baker
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2021 – undisclosed minor injury, 2019 – ACL injury (surgery)
2023 expectationsNo injury considerations here
PlayerEgan Butcher
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2022 – concussion, navicular stress fracture
2023 expectationsButcher is another I like for an uptick in performance heading into 2023. A navicular stress fracture delayed the start of his 2022 season until the Origin period (navicular has poor blood supply/longer healing rates), and even on return in no surprise it took him a few weeks to build his workload. After the Origin period, Robbo forward rotation antics aside, he averaged 67.5 SC ppg in the 4/7 games he played over 40 minutes. With Taukeiaho gone and Tupouniua unavailable to start the season there should be some extra minutes available, and if Egan can grab at least some of them I think he presents great value
PlayerNat Butcher
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2022 – concussion, concussion
2021 – arm injury, arm injury, left PCL injury, moderate grade syndesmosis injury2019 – rib fracture
2023 expectations2 concussions in the past 12 months leaves him typically at a 3-4X greater risk of suffering another concussion moving forward. Other than that no real injury considerations from 2022, represents value though due to likely regular starting edge 2RF role with Tupouniua not back til mid season
PlayerLindsay Collins
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2022 – concussion, concussion 2021 – right ACL rupture, concussion, left ankle injury2020 – concussion
2023 expectations4 concussion in the past 3 years and 2 in 2022 makes this the main concern moving forward. I would usually be high on Collins with this being his 2nd season back from an ACL reconstruction, and I think when he is fit and available his performance should be improved, but the risk of future concussion (at least 3-4X) and need for extended recovery if he does suffer a concussion gives me plenty of caution. I’d rather take many other similarly priced FRF options who don’t have near the injury risk.

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PlayerAngus Crichton
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2022 – concussion2020 – moderate grade right MCL sprain2019 – minor left shoulder reconstruction rehab
2023 expectationsNothing to consider here with Crichton, had a good run with injury over the past few years
PlayerLuke Keary
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2022 – concussion, knee cleanout surgery2021 – left ACL rupture (surgery, round 1 will be 11 months post surgery), minor hamstring injury, ankle cleanout and foot bone bruising2020 – rib fracture2019 – right syndesmosis injury, concussion, concussion, left calf strain
2023 expectationsKeary another who is likely in for a bounce back in his 2nd season back from an ACL reconstruction. An average of 51 SC ppg in 2022 was well down on his previous 3 seasons at the Roosters (75, 59 and 61), which wasn’t a massive surprise considering the setbacks he had surrounding his knee/foot heading into the season (required 2nd surgery on knee, stress reaction on bone in foot). 
But like Collins above, while the signs are there from a physical performance standpoint, it is the injury risk surrounding concussion history that brings the most concern. Keary had been going on 3 years since his last documented concussion heading into 2022, but unfortunately he suffered another during the season. Whilst initially being named to return a week after the incident, he then suffered headaches for 3 weeks and was only cleared to return 6 weeks after initial concussion. This is a textbook case of what I have written about with all those multiple concussion sufferers in this document – not only are they more at risk to suffer a concussion (3-4X) but they are MUCH more likely to require an extended time away from the game due to recurring/complex concussion symptoms. 
If Keary can avoid another concussion I think he will push his average up to 60 and potentially beyond, but the concern remains his ability to play over 20 games for the Roosters in 2023.
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PlayerMatt Lodge
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2021 – low grade right hamstring strain2020 – tibia hairline fracture, left knee meniscus injury, partial right ACL tear (no surgery)(reaggravation)2019 – throat injury
2023 expectationsInjury free 2022, and with Taukeiaho gone theres a real opportunity there for someone to pick up some middle minutes. There’s no injury/performance reasons why Lodge can’t be that forward
PlayerJoseph Manu
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2022 – grade 2 calf tear, calf niggle, knee injury2021 – cheekbone fracture (surgery, 3 plates, round 1 will be 6 months post surgery)2019 – concussion
2023 expectationsA few calf issues in 2022 for Manu, but it didn’t slow him down. Scoring 191 and 101 points in the games where the issue was suffered/directly after makes that pretty clear. No real physical or injury concerns heading into 2023
PlayerJaxson Paulo
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2021 – fractured scaphoid (surgery), concussion, concussion
2023 expectationsPositive that he went injury free in 2022, but the multiple concussions in his recent history still point to a likely increased risk of future concussion (3-4X). Value more dependent on his ability to jag a starting wing spot
PlayerVictor Radley
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2022 – concussion, syndesmosis injury + tightrope repair surgery, concussion
2021 – minor shoulder issue, concussion2020 – right ACL injury (reconstruction surgery), elbow contusion
2023 expectationsSyndesmosis surgery didn’t knock down his performance or scoring on return – he actually averaged more SC ppg (54 vs 50) after the syndesmosis injury than before it.
But here we are talking about another Roosters with multiple concussions in his history (and the player with the most is still yet to come). Usual increased risk of future concussion (typically 3-4X). The only real injury concern for Radley heading into 2023
PlayerBilly Smith
Current statusRehab from ACL reconstruction, Round 1 will be 7 months post surgery
Injury history2022 – right ACL (reconstruction surgery)2021 – Lisfranc injury (surgery), shoulder reconstruction2020 – right ACL (reconstruction surgery)2018 – left ACL (reconstruction surgery)
2023 expectationsNot many players in NRL history could match the injury and surgery rap sheet of Billy Smith from the past 5 years. The Lisfranc and shoulder reconstruction surgeries don’t have lingering considerations, but the 3 ACL reconstructions by the age of 23 obviously do.
He is unlikely to be available for at least the first 2 months of the season, and even then he will have to be eased back to a full workload/performance. The mental scars are as much a consideration as the physical ones, with hesitancy and lack of confidence completely normal after so many significant knee injuries. 
The re-injury risk is also very high, with 38% of NRL players in the past 12 years who have suffered a 3rd ACL injury going on to suffer a 4th. The risk is similar in other professional athletes, with much of the evidence pointing to a risk of >30%.
2024 is the best case for Smith to be back to top performance, though at this stage surely the aim for the Roosters and Smith is to just get through a season injury free.
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PlayerBrandon Smith
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2022 – fractured hand
2021 – concussion, shoulder injury, concussion + facial swelling, calf cork2020 – jaw fracture (surgery), facial fracture (no surgery)2019 – ankle sprain, calf strain, cellulitis
2023 expectationsNo injury concerns in his history that require consideration heading into 2023, but my analysis from last year is probably still relevant:
“One guy I argue has a slightly increased injury risk due to his playing style. I’m not sure he has any self preservation! Flies into collisions at 100 miles an hour, and this can result in some nasty contact injuries (concussions/facial fractures). Not a massive negative against him health wise, as contact injuries are largely luck related. But if Smith keeps up his explosive playing style (which is so much of what makes him a great player) this season I wouldn’t be surprised to see him miss a few weeks with a contact injury or two.”
PlayerJoseph Suaalii
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2022 – shoulder injury, concussion2021 – Lisfranc injury (surgery, round 1 will be 8 months post surgery)
2023 expectationsWas somewhat surprised Suaalii avoid surgery after suffering a shoulder subluxation in late 2022. Scans reportedly just showed “bone bruising”, but as we saw with Kotoni Staggs the same publicly reported diagnosis was actually indicative of cartilage/labrum damage. No real concern for his performance, but if there is any joint damage to Suaalii’s shoulder without surgery the risk of recurrent instability is quite high (anywhere from 20-50%). Not something I’m avoiding him over but knocks him down a peg or two just for the slightly increased risk of injury he carries to start the season
PlayerJames Tedesco
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2022 – concussion, finger injury2021 – left hip pointer aggravation, left hip pointer injury, concussion, stem cell procedure (knee)2020 – concussion, concussion, grade 2 left MCL sprain
2023 expectationsInjury wise Tedesco is looking pretty good once again as he heads into 2023. He had his 4th and 5th fingers in splints post RLWC but these are unlikely to be anything of significance, and there has been no mention of his ongoing knee issue causing him any dramas. 
I’m somewhat high on Tedesco again this season and think he’s a solid buy in Classic at his price and at 3rd/4th pick in Draft. But it is becoming harder to ignore his concussion history. 
4 in the past 3 years, and 7 in total (that we know of) over his career:March 2014 – concussionSeptember 2016 – concussionApril 2017 – concussionJune 2020 – concussion (delayed headaches/fatigue)November 2020 – concussionApril 2021 – concussionSeptember 2022 – concussion
Now total number of concussions isn’t everything, and it’s not like there’s a threshold that once a player hits X number of concussions they need to retire. But when compared to players at a similar number of career games Tedesco sits right up there:James Tedesco (204 games): 7 X concussionsLuke Keary (179 games): 6 X concussionsClint Gutherson (167 games): 3 X concussionsRoger Tuivasa Sheck (195 games): 2 X concussionsJack Wighton (220 games): 2 X concussionsCameron Munster (173 games): 2 X concussions
He hasn’t had a “straightforward” recovery from each of the concussions either, suffering delayed headaches and fatigue after his 1st concussion in 2020. Taking all of this into account indicates he is likely both at an increased risk of future concussion (at least 3-4X higher) and prolonged recovery if he does suffer a concussion (>30%).
We haven’t heard any concern out of the Roosters regarding Tedesco’s concussion history, and for a club that is pretty vigilant and conservative in this area we can take this as a good sign. But it’s a situation that continues to go under the radar, and opens up a wide range of outcomes if Tedesco were to suffer another concussion in 2023.
PlayerDaniel Tupou
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2022 – left sided groin injury, groin injury aggravation2020 – left syndesmosis injury (surgery), right leg injury (contusion?)2019 – left sided groin/hip flexor injury2017 – significant groin tear
2023 expectationsGroin injury didn’t happen til the 2nd last regular season game and didn’t drag his season average down. Has a history now of multiple groin issues, which gives him an increased injury risk in the same area moving forward. Not enough to override the likely increase in value he would have if the Roosters have a better season in 2023 (as expected)
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PlayerSitili Tupouniua
Current statusRehab from ACL reconstruction, Round 1 will be 7 months post surgery
Injury history2022 – concussion, ACL injury2021 – foot injury, concussion, concussion2020 – left MCL sprain, facial laceration
2023 expectationsAn ACL rupture the same day as Billy Smith, so will likely be aiming sometime in May for a return. Doesn’t have the ACL injury history Smith has so would expect him to return first. Even when he does return it’s very likely to be from the bench to build his workload and exposure to contact/fatigue. We’ve seen this in the past with similar edge forwards who return mid-season post-ACL injury (eg Wade Graham, Jamie Buhrer, Anthony Tupou). He could present some good value once dropping in price over that first 4-6 weeks, as many of those edge forwards returned to their 80 minute roles from around 2 months post return to play. Still 2024 likely to be his better year.
Worth briefly mentioning the concussions too – another Rooster with multiple in his recent history. Usual increased risk of future concussion (3-4X) to take into account here.
PlayerJake Turpin
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2021 – jaw fracture (surgery), minor syndesmosis sprain2020 – hand fracture, tibial plateau fracture
2023 expectationsHas spent recent times in and out of first grade but no significant issues to report
PlayerJared Waerea-Hargreaves
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2022 – minor hamstring injury2021 – minor knee injury, broken finger (partially played through), back strain (partially played through), knee injury (partially played through), shoulder capsule injury2020 – minor calf issue, calf aggravation2019 – minor hamstring tweak, rib cartilage injury
2023 expectationsJWH just seems to be the gift that keeps on giving for the Roosters, even when most count him out. From a performance/SuperCoach perspective I think while he remains a vital cog for the Roosters as a team, it’s highly unlikely he goes out in 2023 and increases on his previous workloads. Hamstring injury from 2022 seemed to linger/come and go during the season, as noted with others the advanced age brings increased risk of lower limb soft tissue strains.
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PlayerSam Walker
Current statusHealthy
Injury history2022 – concussion, forearm fracture2021 – right AC joint injury, left AC joint injury (ongoing and played through), syndesmosis injury2019 – shoulder surgery (5 month recovery)
2023 expectationsOne of the toughest efforts of 2022 when Walker played through a forearm fracture in a finals game. Performance wise whilst less flashy Walker looked more at home in the NRL in 2022, and as the years pass in the early stage of his career there are benefits in his body becoming more accustomed to the physical toll of week in week out NRL footy. No real injury concerns to take into consideration here, his value is definitely more based on his development as a player and the Roosters performance as a team.
PlayerConnor Watson
Current statusInjured
Injury history2022 – shoulder injury, throat cartilage fracture, patellar tendon injury2021 – achilles aggravation (no tear)2020 – right achilles tendon rupture (surgery), right syndesmosis injury (repair surgery)2019 – low grade MCL sprain, plantar fascia rupture, plantar fascia pain issue, right MCL injury
2023 expectationsSignificant patellar tendon injury that has him in a wheelchair and rigid straight leg splint. At best a partial tear (3-4 months recovery), but more likely to be a rupture with surgery + 6-9 months recovery. If confirmed by the Roosters this is one of the toughest rehab processes from commonly seen sporting injuries. Silver lining is he has done it early season, so if partial tear there is a chance he can return this year. If a complete rupture he has 12 months to put in solid rehab and hopefully return at a greater performance level than usual in 2024.

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