The Sydney Roosters will reportedly end the experiment of playing Joseph Manu at five-eighth this weekend, instead electing to blood Sandon Smith into the starting team, having come off the bench over the last two weeks.

The move comes with the Roosters approaching desperation stakes after their second heavy loss to the Penrith Panthers this year - a loss that has seen the club fall below a 50 percent winning record, holding just 6 victories from 13 games.

The Roosters are still well in the top eight picture with the ladder a logjam, but they need to start winning, and according to News Corp, Manu's time at five-eighth is over as coach Trent Robinson searches for answers.

Manu originally came into the halves ahead of the Round 8 Anzac Day clash against the St George Illawarra Dragons, and while he had some impressive performances early in the run, his form there has dropped right off in recent weeks, capping with a horror performance against the Panthers on the weekend.

Playing as part of a team that lost 30 points to 6, Manu struggled to have any influence over the game and it appears he will move back to the centres this week.

Smith has shown plenty off the bench and is touted as one of the better young halves in the game. His NSW Cup form, where he played a mix of fullback and halfback, was what originally moved him into the NRL on Robinson's bench, recording a staggering 17 try assists in just 12 games.

He will now play five-eighth in a partnership with current number seven Luke Keary, while Manu's move back to the centres will push Drew Hutchison back to the bench.

He could have up to a month to rubber stamp a position in the Roosters' halves as well, with reports suggesting Walker's recovery has been delayed again.

Walker was originally dropped to NSW Cup to accommodate Manu's move into the halves, but then suffered a knee injury which was believed to be a relatively minor MCL sprain.

The half was set to return after the Roosters' Round 13 bye according to coach Robinson at one point, but now, two weeks on, he has had setbacks in his recovery which could leave him sidelined for at least another month.

That would see Walker potentially not able to return until Round 20 against the Melbourne Storm following a bye, if he was indeed to be called back into the first-grade side at that point.

Walker's form over the first half of the campaign was mixed, to say the least, and Robinson wanted the youngster to spend time developing his craft back in reserve grade. With 50 NRL games to his name by the age of 20, Walker missed all of the time most players would have spent in the Jersey Flegg and NSW Cup competitions as a youngster through a mix of COVID, and making his NRL debut just three games after his NSW Cup debut.

Robinson may not have an option but to bring Walker back into the side given the Roosters' struggles, with the club desperately needing a form turnaround over the next three weeks against the Newcastle Knights, Canberra Raiders and Manly Sea Eagles.