Latrell Mitchell is set on helping his teammates prepare for their preliminary final.
Latrell Mitchell is set on helping his teammates prepare for their preliminary final.

Coach Robinson backs Roosters to cover Mitchell

THE Roosters have depth to make sure Latrell Mitchell's suspension is not a fatal blow to their premiership hopes.

That is the opinion of Roosters coach Trent Robinson, who has backed his squad to overcome the untimely loss of his boom centre.

"Nobody is irreplaceable ... Latrell is a high-quality player and he's proven that over and over again.

"But we're a high-quality team and we need to prove that again next week."

A gutted Latrell Mitchell has bottled his disappointment and is now trying to help the Sydney Roosters prepare for the NRL preliminary final he'll miss through suspension.

Mitchell failed to overturn his one-game suspension, resulting from carryover points and a crusher tackle on Josh Dugan, at a judiciary hearing this week.

The Roosters will be without the game-breaking star and suspended prop Dylan Napa when they face the winner of Saturday's knock-out clash between South Sydney and St George Illawarra.

"He's focused on getting the other guys ready. That's done, he's not playing," Roosters coach Trent Robinson told reporters on Friday.

"He's focused on the guys who are playing next week.

"It's natural for players to miss games, that they're going to be disappointed. I told him to keep that disappointment there and get ready for the following week."

Mitchell, who is second in the league for points scored this season, leaves an immense hole.

Robinson was unwilling to reveal who will handle goal-kicking duties in the NSW centre's absence.

Leading candidate Sio Siua Taukeiaho, who performed the duties for Tonga at last year's World Cup, is still recovering from an ankle injury.

Blake Ferguson is another obvious option.

"He (Taukeiaho) is racing the clock but he's progressed really well this week," Robinson said.

"There's obviously about 20 goal-kickers at training who have an attempt.

Robinson is yet to counsel Mitchell, whose carryover points resulted from a cannonball tackle in the final round of the regular season, about his technique.

"I haven't spoken to him about any of those things. It's not the appropriate time," the 2013 premiership coach said.

The Roosters won in week one of the 2017 finals then fell at the preliminary- final hurdle, when they were shocked 29-16 by North Queensland.

Robinson, who has since added gun playmaker Cooper Cronk to his squad, suggested the club learned some lessons from last year.

"We know getting byes and getting energy right is really important," Robinson said.

"You want to get the freshness in legs but you want to get your work done.

"The work doesn't stop this week, you just don't have a game on the weekend."

Robinson wouldn't offer an opinion about next week's potential opponents, noting "there's not much use jumping at shadows, on what might happen".



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