NRL 2022: Luke Keary head knock adds to Roosters’ pain after loss to Melbourne Storm

The Sydney Roosters’ worst fears have been confirmed following fresh news on Luke Keary’s weekend head knock.

The Sydney Roosters worst fears were confirmed on Sunday after news playmaker Luke Keary suffered another concussion in the side’s 26-18 loss to Melbourne.

While Roosters remain hopeful Keary will be cleared for their round 15 clash against Parramatta, the club is likely to take a cautious approach given the 30-year-old’s history with serious head knocks.

Keary has shown ‘overnight improvement’ after suffering the latest concussion which has raised concerns for his immediate playing future.

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Keary was left reeling and in pain after teammate Joey Manu’s knee made contact to the back of his head. Keary immediately left the field in the 30th minute in discomfort and did not return.

Luke Keary didn’t return to the field after copping a head knock. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Luke Keary didn’t return to the field after copping a head knock. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Keary will enter return to play protocols ahead of the Eels clash and will need clearance from an independent specialist to take the field.

“Keary sustained a concussion in the Sydney Roosters Round 14 match against the Melbourne Storm,” a statement said.

“He has shown improvement overnight and his progress will continue to be monitored throughout the week as he undergoes the necessary protocols.”

The five-eighth suffered four head injuries over a 14-month period back in 2018 and 2019.

In 2019, Keary had two concussions only five weeks apart, the latter of which occured in round 11 and robbed him of a State of Origin debut.

The Roosters are known for following strict return to play protocols and have helped ease former captains Jake Friend and Boyd Cordner into retirement after the duo suffered repeated head knocks.

MATCH REPORT: ROOSTERS V STORM BLOCKBUSTER

Luke Keary’s immediate playing future is again in doubt after the Roosters star suffered yet another head knock in his side’s 26-18 loss to Melbourne at the SCG on Saturday night.

The Roosters five-eighth copped a knee to the back of the head from teammate Joey Manu in the 30th minute, leaving the field in obvious distress and taking no further part in the game.

The 30-year-old faces a lengthy stint on the sideline and more questions over where his career goes from here.

Keary suffered multiple head knocks in 2018 and 2019 and was ruled out of the game for an extended period. He eventually returned after visiting several specialists and undergoing a series of tests, but this latest injury is a major step backwards.

The Roosters are a club which follows strict concussion protocols, gentling easing former captains Jake Friend and Boyd Cordner into retirement after both players suffered repeated head knocks.

The Tricolours will take their time to assess the full extent of Keary’s injury before making a decision on his future.

“He’s obviously got a knock there and he was okay in the sheds but not enough to go back on the field, so not ideal,” Roosters coach Trent Robinson said.

“It’s too soon to say (what will happen from here). He got the knock and came off and I can’t give you much more than that.”

Roosters halfback Sam Walker went off for a HIA after a head knock but returned later in the game. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Roosters halfback Sam Walker went off for a HIA after a head knock but returned later in the game. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Skipper James Tedesco added: “I don’t know how serious it is for him and you’ve just got to make sure he looks after himself. Hopefully it’s not to the bad extent it was last time.”

The Roosters lost Keary’s halves partner Sam Walker to an HIA early in the second half after he was hit with a stray elbow while tackling Felise Kaufusi. There was conjecture whether the Storm second-rower deliberately targeted Walker on the way down.

Kaufusi was suspended for two matches for a similar strike on Paramatta’s Ryan Matterson last year and may again find himself hit with a charge.

Robinson and Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy both claimed to have not clearly seen the incident, but Fox Sports caller Greg Alexander was in no doubt about Kaufusi’s intentions.

“Okay, I’ll say it. I think he meant what we saw. He knew exactly what he was doing,” Alexander said in commentary as Walker was taken from the field with a bloodied nose.

Walker eventually returned to the action after passing his concussion tests and did his best to get the Roosters across the line in an absorbing contest.

Storm centre Grant Anderson scored two tries on his NRL debut. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Storm centre Grant Anderson scored two tries on his NRL debut. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

The lead changed hands a number of times as the two premiership heavyweights went blow for blow, the result sealed with six minutes to go when Kaufusi scored to lock in an eight-point advantage.

The Roosters started the better of the two sides, motoring 100m to open the scoring just six minutes in.

Some lovely hands from Keary and Walker freed Manu to employ his lethal flick pass and send Joseph Suaalii over in the corner on six minutes.

The Storm hit back 10 minutes later, late inclusion Grant Anderson crossing after a sublime pass from Kaufusi gave him a clear passage to the line.

The conversion locked it up at 6-all and the visitors should have taken the lead soon after, but Jahrome Hughes instead came up with a contender for bombed try of the year.

The No.7 was in the clear and only metres from touching down when he decided to step back inside the defence, only to run headlong into Suaalii.

Joseph Suaalii was strong for the Roosters. Picture: NRL Photos
Joseph Suaalii was strong for the Roosters. Picture: NRL Photos

The rookie winger combined with James Tedesco to hold Hughes up over the line long enough despite the ball appearing to scrape the turf just a spit second after referee Gerard Sutton blew his whistle to halt play.

It was like changing lanes to join a traffic jam instead of taking the clear passage straight in front.

On the very next play, Suaalii raced in from his wing to level Melbourne forward Trent Loiero and shut down the set.

It was two massive plays from the 18-year-old and proved a 12-point turnaround after Walker went down the other end and did it all himself to put the Roosters back in front.

The clever No.6 grubbered from close to the line, running through to collect the ball to finish off a wonderful piece of intuitive football.

The match continued to go from end to end with neither side able to take complete control before Kaufusi’s late four-pointer put it beyond doubt.

Melbourne has now beaten the Roosters in the last five meetings between the clubs.

Originally published as NRL 2022: Luke Keary head knock adds to Roosters’ pain after loss to Melbourne Storm

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