The Sydney Roosters will be without marquee mid-season signing Sonny Bill Williams when they lock horns with the Penrith Panthers on Friday night.
Williams returned to the NRL late in the season but will be forced to watch on from the sidelines when the two sides meet in the NRL finals matchup at Panthers Stadium.
The star was ruled out of the contest following a flare up of a neck complaint with Nat Butcher being elevated into the squad in his place.
"Sonny Bill Williams has been ruled out for the Roosters this weekend due to the flare up of a neck complaint. There was some increased injury concern considering SBW's lack of game play in recent months. Neck not the most common location for acclimation injury though," NRL physio tweeted.
The former All Black has made four appearances for the Roosters since returning to the club mid-season.
The Roosters, along with the loss of Williams, will be without Jake Friend following a concussion.
The defending premiers will be looking to bounce back from last week's humiliating 60-8 loss to the Rabbitohs.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson says his players are keen to redeem themselves.
"These guys don't run away from anything, they don't try to dismiss it without trying to improve," he said.
"It was a lesson sent our way so we needed to pick it up, take it, and then the focus has been from Monday about Friday's game."
"It's a memory now that we won't forget but it's no longer a weight."
- with news.com.au