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Roosters criticised for blocking Joseph Manu from playing in the All Stars

08 Feb 22, 7:32PM 0 Comments

Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk

Photo by Getty Images

Joseph Manu is arguably the best centre in the NRL and has recently re-signed with his club the Sydney Roosters until the end of 2024 after winning two premierships with the tricolours by the age of 23.

He has continued to excel for the club during this period, not only in his primary role of centre but at fullback and in the halves also.

At just 22-years-old he made his debut for the New Zealand national team and will likely be one of the first players selected for their Rugby League World Cup squad at the end of the year.

Unfortunately, Manu’s 2021 was cut short after the Hamilton native fractured his cheekbone in the Roosters’ round 24 clash with arch-rivals the South Sydney Rabbitohs when former teammate Latrell Mitchell hit him with a careless high tackle.

Manu has since recovered and was invited to represent the Maori All-Stars in the 2022 NRL All Stars game, which would have been his return to play after 169 days on the sidelines.

This would have been Manu’s second All-Stars game; however, the Roosters have prevented him from representing his culture over fears he could suffer another injury before the 2022 NRL season commences.

Maori Rugby League Board Chairman John Devonshire has responded by blasting the Roosters for not allowing Manu to play in the match when speaking to Channel Nine’s The Mole.

“He was very keen, being a proud Maori lad, but the Roosters said no, which is disappointing,” Devonshire said.

“I can understand their point of view – he got hurt in the game last year and hasn’t played since he fractured his cheekbone.

“But looking from over here in NZ, it seems that the clubs run the game in Australia.

“This game is so culturally important to both the Maoris and the Indigenous players – there are some things that are special on the league calendar.

“But the clubs seem to think that they are bigger than the game and that is a shame.”

Manu could make his return later this month if he is selected to play in either of the Roosters two trial games against the Raiders and Tigers respectively, but as the club has prevented him from playing in the All-Stars game they will likely opt to save his comeback for round one against the Knights.

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