Roosters star finished at club, legends reckon

Unlucky Sydney Roosters ace Lachlan Lam should move on and become a "marquee No.7" at another NRL club, rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns says.

Lam, 22, debuted last season but has managed just 10 games so far for the back-to-back NRL premiers. He is off-contract after this season, having played only three matches in 2020.

Kyle Flanagan was recruited to fill the halfback role vacated by Cooper Cronk and when Lam got a chance to snatch the jersey this season, when Flanagan was dropped, he suffered a serious ankle injury.

Flanagan now looks cemented as the first choice No.7. Triple premiership-winner Luke Keary is an immovable object at No.6, while there's obstacles even in Lam's non-preferred position of hooker.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson suggested last month that Lam, the son of club great Adrian Lam, was close to re-signing and was happy to fight for a position. Yet a deal has not been confirmed and Johns reckons he should look elsewhere.

"They've got high hope for [young half] Sam Walker, too," Johns told Wide World of Sports on Freddy and the Eighth.

"He (Lam) wants to play halfback. They've played him in dummy-half but they have Sam Verrills coming through, he'll be their long-time dummy-half after Jake Friend.

"The games I've seen him play, I've been really impressed with his toughness and his defence, Lachie Lam. I think he needs to go somewhere [else], to be their marquee No.7."

Roosters great Brad Fittler said that Lam's window of opportunity seemed to have slipped by, backing the call for the 22-year-old to switch clubs.

"It's interesting how Lachie Lam had the run during the year and he got syndesmosis, he had an ankle injury, that was a bit of a hurdle for him," Fittler said.

"Do you feel like Kyle Flanagan's worked too well? Like the fact that Kyle and the Roosters has worked very well, they've lost very few games together."

Johns and Fittler also discussed the future of two other off-contract young stars, Penrith's Charlie Staines and Manly's Albert Hopoate.

Staines, who scored four tries on the wing in an incredible NRL debut for the Panthers this season, will move on and become a fullback at the Bulldogs, Johns has predicted.

"I don't think he'll stay, I think he'll move. I think he'll end up at the Bulldogs," Johns said.

Brad Fittler predicted Staines would re-sign at Penrith but Johns asked what position he could feasibly take in the first-placed NRL side.

Fittler responded: "I think they've got a future for him. I think Burton's the one that'll move on, Matt Burton."

Johns: "You've got [Josh] Mansour and [Brian] To'o on the wings, do you see him (Staines) as a fullback? Dylan Edwards has got long-term aspirations to fill that position."

Fittler: "I think he (Staines) will be fullback."

Johns and Fittler both tipped Hopoate to stick with Manly, despite rumblings from his father - former Sea Eagle John Hopoate - that he might seek a better deal elsewhere.

"If you've got a player like that, a local junior, you don't let him [go]," Johns said, branding the young flyer "class" after witnessing impressive performance in his first three NRL games this season.

Fittler was startled that Hopoate, his former NSW under-16s charge, remained unsigned: "He's a good player."

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