Our second Friday night Round 16 fixture has the Roosters hosting the Storm at Adelaide Oval.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
The Roosters look like they’re finally starting to hit their straps and are looking to make a statement over the defending premiers and make it four wins in a row.
The Storm are sitting 5th on the ladder right now and will be looking to follow-up their wins over the Knights, Broncos and Cowboys to make it four in a row.
Boyd Cordner suffered a concussion in the Origin 2 victory over Queensland so will not play as per concussion protocol. He is replaced in the back row by Victor Radley. Ryan Matterson is still out after his bad concussion/wrist surgery and is replaced by Nat Butcher. Joseph Manu is suspended so Mitch Aubusson moves from the bench to the starting side. Lindsay Collins and Matt Ikuvalu join Isaac Liu and Kurt Baptiste on the bench. Sio Tukeiaho starts in the front row after playing 80 minutes in the back row for Tonga. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves isn’t named in the squad after playing in the Denver test match. James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell and Dylan Napa are all expected to back up from Origin.
Billy Slater, Josh Addo-Carr, Cameron Munster, Will Chambers and Felise Kaufusi have all been named to back up from Origin 2, with some doubt over Nelson Asofa-Solomona after the New Zealand players have had some trouble getting home after the Denver test. Ryan Hoffman rejoins the starting side with Joe Stimson dropping back to the bench, where he’s joined by Jahrome Hughes.
This could absolutely be the game of the round. The Roosters struggled somewhat at the start of the season as they tried to get their new combinations to gel, but they seem to be getting it together with a big win over Penrith before the rep round. James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell, Daniel Tupou, Kurt Baptiste and Siosiua Taukeiaho will all be buzzing after victories over the rep weekend, while Dylan Napa is coming off an Origin loss.
On the same note, Josh Addo-Carr is the only Storm player who got a win over rep weekend, whereas Billy Slater, Cameron Munster, Will Chambers, Felise Kaufusi and Suliasi Vunivalu will all be stinging after some hard losses after all playing 80 minutes (except Kaufusi who played 77 for Queensland).
This shapes to be a major game for both sides as they sit just outside the top four on 20 points, with Melbourne only just ahead on points differential. Perhaps the most intriguing part of this match is that Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith are both fresh after sitting out of Origin and this will be the first time that the pair will play against each other since Cooper left Melbourne to join the Roosters. It could be the first time they have played against each other since they were kids!
It’s a huge deal and one of many personal match ups that could make this one of the games of the season. Smith vs Cronk, NSW Fullback Tedesco vs QLD fullback Slater, NSW centre Mitchell vs QLD centre Chambers, Ex NSW winger Ferguson vs current NSW winger Addo-Carr and NSW shadow 5/8th Keary vs QLD 5/8th Munster, not to mention two of the best coaches in the game in Robinson vs Bellamy. This is truly a mouth-watering match with plenty to play for. This could legitimately a Grand Final preview, so fingers crossed everyone pulls up fine from rep weekend, as this could be a classic.
The Roosters have won 6 from 7 and will have had this game marked down on the calendar as there is no bigger test than the defending premiers with a lot of key players looking to bounce back after disappointing rep losses.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday 29th June
Venue: Adelaide Oval
Referee: Grant Atkins/Gavin Badger
WHO WILL WIN?