The Sydney Roosters could be relying on third-choice goal-kicker Blake Ferguson's boot to get them through to this year's NRL grand final with prop Sio Siua Taukeiaho still battling an ankle injury.
Taukeiaho is on track and confident he'll overcome an ankle sprain and face South Sydney in Saturday night's preliminary final, but has been unable to goal kick this week a result of the injury.
Regular straight shooter Latrell Mitchell is also out suspended for a crusher tackle, and will only play again this year if the Roosters beat the Rabbitohs to qualify for the September 30 decider.
Taukeiaho has usually been the Roosters second-choice kicker this year, and has a career strike rate of 73.33 per cent before injuring his ankle early in the qualifying-final win over Cronulla.
Since then his focus has solely been on being fit to play in a Roosters pack already without the suspended Dylan Napa, and he's unsure if his fitness will affect his goal kicking.
"It's the foot I put all my pressure on," Taukeiaho told AAP on Tuesday.
"I'm not 100 per cent (sure). At the moment Blake Ferguson is practising goals. I'm just more focused on trying to get myself out there.
"I've got to get myself ready 100 per cent to play on Saturday, and then I'll focus on goal kicking."
Goal kicking could also prove crucial in the Allianz Stadium clash, given three of this year's six finals have been decided by just one point.
Left searching for a new kicker after Michael Gordon left the club at the end of last year, Mitchell has stepped up to the point where he was the second-leading point-scorer in the NRL regular season.
Ferguson has also kicked this season in games where Mitchell and Taukeiaho have both been off the field, booting over six from seven in 2018, but at a career strike rate of 73.33 per cent.
Meanwhile the Roosters are preparing for the impact of Mitchell's absence with more than just the boot.
The NSW State of Origin star has scored 16 tries, made 18 linebreaks and busted 101 tackles this year to be their best attacking threat this season.
They've named utility Mitchell Aubusson at centre in his place, with Victor Radley brought back into the starting side at lock, in a move that adds plenty of defensive starch.
"He's a a massive loss," co-captain Boyd Cordner said.
"He's a game-breaker and proved in the big games, in Origin, what he's capable of, and all year for us. But at the same time, we've had to cover for injuries before."
Australian Associated Press