Roberts gets the green light for Newcastle

Fortunes improving: Tyrone Roberts, front left, is expected to be fit to take on the Roosters. Photo: Simone De PeakNewcastle halfback Tyrone Roberts is on track to line up against Sydney Roosters in the preliminary final at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night after a solid training session on Wednesday.

Knights coach Wayne Bennett was certain Roberts would take his place but effectively ruled out back-up playmaker Craig Gower (neck), and said winger James McManus (ankle) remained under an injury cloud. In their last run in Newcastle before the grand-final qualifier, the Knights were cheered on by several hundred supporters.

”We’re all fit to go … James McManus is still in doubt, but outside of him, everyone is good,” Bennett said.

Roberts was in a leg brace after Newcastle’s 18-16 semi-final victory over Melbourne at AAMI Park last Saturday night after hyperextending his right knee in the final minutes. Cleared of a significant injury after scans the following day, the goal-kicking Ballina Seagulls product showed no ill effects at training as he ran, stepped and kicked without incident.

”He trained all morning, he didn’t miss a drill out there, so if he’s got a bad knee, he can’t do all that he did,” Bennett said. ”He’s got no strapping on it.”

McManus has battled a stress fracture in his lower-left leg since the Origin decider in Brisbane on July 17 and was replaced by Kevin Naiqama for the game against the Storm last Saturday. Though he is no longer wearing a moon boot, McManus sat out most of Wednesday’s session and Naiqama remains on standby.

”He’s on the borderline, so we’ll give him until Friday and see how he is,” Bennett said. ”We’re all confident in Kevin, so it always helps when you’ve got … somebody else that’s very capable.”

Gower had neck surgery three weeks ago to shave a bulging disc and is not expected to displace bench utility Matt Hilder.

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