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NRL finals: Sydney Roosters can't make grand final without Latrell Mitchell, says James Hooper

Sporting News logo Sporting News 12/09/2018
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When the NRL judiciary decided to uphold Latrell Mitchell's grade one dangerous contact charge and it became official that the Tricolours would be without their star centre for the preliminary final, both coach Trent Robinson and Mitchell left League Central looking shattered.

No doubt the Roosters are incredibly disappointed that they will be without the youngster's services for the grand final qualifier, and there are those that now believe the Chooks will struggle to make the big dance because of Mitchell's absence.

The boys from Bondi will take on the winner of the second semi final this weekend between the Rabbitohs and St George Illawarra Dragons.

Both these clubs have injury issues and will have another intense match under their belts when either one of them moves on to take on the minor premiers for a spot in the decider.

Fox Sports' James Hooper is one of those that isn't confident in the Roosters' ability to progress without their star NSW Blues centre.

"I'm not sure the Roosters can make the grand final without Latrell Mitchell," Hooper said on NRL360.

"He's that much of a devastating, attacking weapon. His combination with Luke Keary on the left-edge and James Tedesco is absolutely lethal.

"If you go back to the Roosters in the preliminary final last year, Trent Robinson started Mitchell Aubusson and also Ryan Matterson in the centres, he had Daniel Tupou on the bench. That move backfired.

"Now, Mitchell Aubusson will most likely be the player, I believe, that comes in and replaces Latrell Mitchell. As good of a player as Aubusson is, you can't replace Latrell Mitchell."

While it will be tough for the Chooks to move forward in the NRL finals series without Mitchell, The Daily Telegraph's Paul Kent wasn't giving up on them so quickly.

"By the same token, Souths and Saints are both nursing bumps and bruises," Kent said.

"So it depends on how much they beat each other up and what state they are in because the winner of that advances to play the Roosters.

"That will have a big bearing on whether the Roosters go through.

"Fair to say though, they'll get Mitchell and Dylan Napa back for the grand final if they qualify."

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