The Roosters will be out to continue their good start to the season and get some momentum rolling in their first home game of the season against the Bulldogs.
Last Time Out
The Roosters raced out to a 28-0 half-time lead in what looked to be a statement to the competition that they were back in business. A sloppy, error riddled 2nd half saw the Titans score 18 straight points which reminded them that there’s still a lot of improvement to be made. Latrell Mitchell’s positional shift to centre paid off greatly as he scored the first hat-trick of his career while new recruits Luke Keary and Michael Gordon performed admirably in their club debuts, both bagging tries.
The Bulldogs continued their hoodoo of being unsuccessful at Belmore with a 12-6 loss to the Storm. Despite the narrow scoreline the Dogs never truly looked like threatening a rock solid defensive Storm team. A poor opening 10 minutes saw them concede two tries which would be the last of the Storm’s points for the night save a penalty goal. A moment of brilliance in attack from Brenko Lee to break through the defence and offload to Josh Reynolds produced the only try of the game for the Dogs. A ton of possession in the 2nd half saw them register no points as they failed to break the line. The Dogs finished the game with 53% of the overall possession.
The halves. Reynolds and Mbye need to step up. Much criticism has been leveled at them in recent times but so far they’re failing to prove the doubters wrong. Their kicking game has been woeful at times and their inability to produce points has proved to be a severe hindrance to the Dogs attack. They can’t suddenly become master game managers in a week but a couple of well-placed kicks to the in-goal to force repeat sets would go a long way towards improving their ability to apply pressure on the opposition defence.
The Roosters new halves pairing of Luke Keary and Mitchell Pearce worked like a charm last Saturday. They both roamed around the field, popping up on opposite sides and passed to each other in set plays. The running game of both halves produced headaches for the Titans as Keary ran in for two tries and Pearce sliced through the defensive line and gave it away to Gordon for a try. Their combination has the potential to cause the Dogs defence a lot of strife. Limiting their influence will be a key part to the Dogs chances of winning.
The strength of the Dogs forward pack will keep the match close but the touch of class and creativity in the Roosters backline will make the difference for them. If the Roosters get complacent and errors start creeping into their game like last week I can see the Dogs edging out a possible upset. However if the Chooks stay switched on I think they’ll be too good for the Dogs. Roosters by 8+
Roosters: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Blake Ferguson 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. Luke Keary 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Dylan Napa 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Mitchell Aubusson 13. Aidan Guerra 14. Isaac Liu 15. Kane Evans 16. Ryan Matterson 17. Connor Watson 18. Chris Smith 19. Joseph Manu 20. Dale Copley 21. Zane Tetevano
Bulldogs: 1. William Hopoate 2. Brett Morris 3. Josh Morris 4. Brenko Lee 5. Kerrod Holland 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Moses Mbye 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. James Graham 11. Josh Jackson 12. Greg Eastwood 13. David Klemmer 14. Sam Kasiano 15. Danny Fualalo 16. Adam Elliot 17. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 19. Brad Abbey 20. Matt Frawley 21. Francis Tualau 23. Craig Garvey