Cordner usual focused self on NRL return

Roosters captain Boyd Cordner (l) is ready to return from his third head knock of the season.
Roosters captain Boyd Cordner (l) is ready to return from his third head knock of the season.

An undeterred Boyd Cordner has remained his usual self ahead of his return from his third head knock of 2020, according to Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson.

Cordner is a certainty to run out against South Sydney in Friday night's final-round clash, two weeks after hitting his head on the SCG turf against Newcastle.

The Roosters have since taken a cautious approach with their star co-captain, sitting him out of last week's win over Cronulla despite passing concussion protocols.

But it hasn't stopped questions being asked over the Australian Test captain's future, with some quarters asking if he could be forced to face an early retirement.

But Robinson said the 28-year-old had not shown any issues ahead of Friday's clash and had been operating as if it was business as usual.

"He trained well (last week), trained over the weekend on Saturday game day and back into it this week," Robinson said.

"It's been preparation as normal for Boyd and ready to play.

"(He's) focused as normal. As we know Boyd is quite a competitive guy and driven guy.

"It's just been him driving his standards and the team as a captain as well. He's just been straight back into that attitude."

The Roosters have made a point to defend their concussion protocols throughout Cordner's issues, pointing out they have gone beyond official NRL requirements.

The second-rower first suffered a concussion in the Roosters' round-eight loss to Melbourne, before returning a fortnight later and copping a knock to the head in training.

He was then sat out for a further five weeks as he saw a specialist over headaches, before returning in round 16 and suffering the knock against Newcastle in round 18.

He is, however, named to start on the left edge on Friday, while Angus Crichton will start at lock as he continues to spend more time in the middle with Isaac Liu rested this weekend.

"I think we have all been quite impressed with the way Angus has been playing and carrying the ball and getting as many touches as possible," Robinson said.

"He's pretty important to the way we play, it will be pretty important for him to get out there to let him run freely."

Meanwhile Robinson indicated he was pleased with the way Sonny Bill Williams had taken more minutes off the bench, ensuring he was required to play longer come finals if needed.

Australian Associated Press