The Sydney Roosters have ended their pursuit of Bulldogs hooker Michael Lichaa, reports the Daily Telegraph.
The reigning premiers will instead turn to rising talents Victor Radley and Sam Verills to fill the role while co-captain Jake Friend recovers from a biceps injury.
Radley is set to get first crack at the starting job, while Verills will get more opportunities after his impressive debut against the Storm in round six.
Utility Mitchell Aubusson could also be called upon to play the No. 9 if required, with Friend looking at a four-month stint on the sidelines.
The Roosters face the Raiders on Sunday afternoon at Suncorp Stadium.