Roosters' halfback role is Lam's: Robinson

Lachlan Lam will start at halfback for the Roosters against the Storm, says coach Trent Robinson.
Lachlan Lam will start at halfback for the Roosters against the Storm, says coach Trent Robinson.

Trent Robinson insists he isn't about to pull a Cooper Cronk swifty and launch Kyle Flanagan into his Sydney Roosters starting side against Melbourne on Thursday night.

An injured Cronk was famously named at 23 in the team list for the Roosters' 2018 grand final against the Storm, but started at halfback and pulled off a match-winning performance.

Ahead of their SCG clash on Thursday night, coach Robinson has named Lachlan Lam at halfback and Flanagan at 21 and said Lam, who played there last round, would hold the role.

"Kyle's in the 21 and Lachie is in the seven, he played there last week and he will be out there Thursday night," Robinson said on Wednesday.

"We've got two young guys who have really worked hard in their early career and I thought Lachie played well last week so it was his jersey last week and it is this week and they will keep working hard for the team."

Robinson dismissed talk that player power was behind Flanagan being dropped and said Lam deserved his chance.

"It was purely on what I've been seeing over the last month," he said.

"I talked to Kyle about some things I want him to work on and I wanted to give Lachie the opportunity to push into the position - it's as simple as that."

Their round-eight match came down to the wire with field goals exchanged in the final minute to go into golden point, with Melbourne winning with a penalty kick.

Robinson said he wanted to see more from his team, who will again be without captain Boyd Cordner, who is still batting concussion symptoms.

"It was a great game of footy, high intensity but we should have finished better.

"I was happy with some really good moments ... but I want improvement tomorrow night."

Skipper Cameron Smith, who kicked that goal, will also be missing from the Storm side through injury, along with Cameron Munster, with Ryley Jacks the new five-eighth.

Fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen, who kicked the long-range field goal in that game, is set to take over the place-kicking duties.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy expected Smith's shoulder to keep him out for a couple more weeks "at best".

"I don't know where the report came from that he could play against the Roosters but he's not ready for that yet," Bellamy said.

"We don't want to be taking any chances with him."

STATS THAT MATTER

* Both teams are scoring the most points this season, with the Storm scoring 350 (26.9 per game) to the Roosters 348 (26.8 per game).

* Roosters have won 11 of the past 12 at the SCG.

* Storm have scored 19 tries through the centre channel, the most in the NRL.

Source: Fox Sports Stats

Australian Associated Press