UPDATED: Coach Trent Robinson announced on The Game Plan tonight that Mitchell Aubusson has been ruled out of tomorrow’s clash with the Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium.
And according to a very reliable source, Martin Kennedy will make his return from a leg injury sustained against the Bulldogs in Round 15 and take the vacated spot in the squad for the Bondi club.
The loss of Aubusson will obviously require a reshuffle given Kennedy is clearly not a centre, and 26 Rounds has not been able to get a confirmation of the reshuffle at time of writing.
The common assumption is that either Aidan Guerra or Sonny Bill Williams — who my source said hadn’t heard a thing about the injury and who Robinson said he expects to play, despite the story in the Telegraph this afternoon — will step into the centre spot and either Tinirau Arona or Dylan Napa to start.
The other option would be to start Samisoni Langi in the centres and drop Tinirau Arona back to the Newtown Jets, although Rugby League Week’s The Mole tweeted that Michael Oldfield may get a run.
Aubusson was named in the squad despite being knocked out after 20 minutes in the Titans clash on Sunday. With a five-day turnaround, it would have been tough to recover from a concussion so quickly.
The Roosters have been at the forefront of concussion care for the past two seasons, never risking the long-term health of players for the sake of a win, most notably when they rested Roger Tuivasa-Sheck for a game. If only other clubs looked after their players like the Roosters do.
The injury to Kennedy was expected to keep the front rower out for a minimum of eight weeks. he required surgery after Krisnan Inu ran into his knee, resulting in a hyper-extension and Kennedy memorably screaming in sheer agony before walking off the field, the tough bastard.
At the time Kennedy had just been named 18th man for the Queenslanders over Maroons stalwarts and former Roosters Ash Harrison and David Shillington, and had returned to near his best after a series of leg injuries robbed him of 2011 and his effectiveness in 2012.
In the three games prior to his injury he’d run for over 100 metres in each game, including a 12 run, 160 metre performance against the hapless Eels.
Several sources have told this writer that SBW is a likely starter versus the Bunnies.