The Sydney Roosters have suffered a 26-18 defeat at the hands of Melbourne, but it will be the loss of playmaker Luke Keary that leaves coach Trent Robinson concerned.
Keary, who has had longstanding concussion issues, did not return to the field after being taken off for a HIA in the 30th minute in front of 12, 295 fans at the SCG on Saturday.
Halves partner Sam Walker was also sent for assessment after a nasty collision with Melbourne’s Felise Kaufusi, but was able to play on.
Attempting to bring down Storm flyer Nick Meaney, Keary fell to the ground and copped the knee of teammate Joey Manu in the back of the head.
After five head knocks across the 2018 and 2019 seasons, the Roosters playmaker was sent to see a specialist and given time five weeks away from the game.
The 30-year-old missed the majority of the 2021 season with an ACL injury and this incident was his first head knock since the 2019 campaign.
The latest concussion concern could not come at a worst time for the Roosters with games against Parramatta and Penrith in the next fortnight.
Walker, meanwhile, received an ugly elbow to the face from Kaufusi as he attempted to bring the Storm forward to ground.
Unlike Keary, he did return to the action but Kaufusi’s action may draw the attention of the NRL’s match review committee.
Kaufusi was given a two-week ban by the NRL for a similar incident involving Parramatta’s Ryan Matterson last season.
Despite the loss of their two key playmakers for patches of the game, the Roosters were gallant with teenage winger Joseph Suaalii continuing to impress.
Suaalii scored their opener, had one try held up, and pulled off two try-saving tackles in the first half.
Storm debutant Grant Anderson responded before Walker and Marion Seve traded tries to leave the Roosters with a slender 12-10 lead at the break.
Seve doubled his tally in the second half with Sitili Tupouniua jagging one back for the Chooks.
Anderson then grabbed a second with a little over a quarter of an hour to go, in a display which will hearten coach Craig Bellamy after news Origin star Xavier Coates would miss the next eight weeks.
Kaufusi made sure of the win when he rounded the Roosters defence to score in the last five minutes.