Andrew Pelechaty previews the Saturday night SCG clash between the Sydney Roosters and Wests Tigers.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
After their opening loss to Souths, the Sydney Roosters have lived up to their #Eaststowin hashtag, with six straight wins and first position on differential. Their streak included flogging Brisbane at the SCG, an epic Good Friday golden point win in Melbourne, and surviving a late Dragons comeback on ANZAC Day. Barring any big injuries, the Roosters are shaping for at least a top two finish and a genuine shot at back-to-back premierships.
After promising signs in 2018, Wests have been inconsistent so far in 2019, with a 4-3 record and seventh spot. Following a 51-6 Easter Monday belting against Parramatta, Wests fell behind 14-0 against the lowly Titans before a Mahe Fonua hat-trick kick-started a 30-14 win.
Victor Radley moves to hooker, replacing the injured Jake Friend. Isaac Luke returns at lock from a broken finger. Luke Keary returns from concussion.
Sydney Roosters squad: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Joseph Manu 5. Matt Ikuvalu 6. Luke Keary 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Victor Radley 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Angus Crichton 13. Isaac Liu 14. Nat Butcher 15. Zane Tetevano 16.Sitili Tupouniua 17. Mitchell Aubusson 18. Lindsay Collins 19. Poasa Faamausili 20. Lachlan Lam 21. Sam Verrills
Benji Marshall is back at five-eighth after a month away. The previously omitted Russell Packer is also named in the extended squad.
Wests Tigers squad: 1. Moses Mbye 2. Mahe Fonua 3. Robert Jennings 4. Esan Marsters 5. Corey Thompson 6.Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 8. Ben Matulino 9. Robbie Farah 10. Alex Twal 11. Ryan Matterson 12. Chris McQueen 13. Josh Aloiai 14. Elijah Taylor 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Matt Eisenhuth 17. Luke Garner 18. Paul Momirovski 19. Jacob Liddle 20. David Nofoaluma 21.Russell Packer
HEAD TO HEAD
The Roosters and Tigers split last year’s matches: the Tigers shocked everyone with 10-8 win in round one at ANZ Stadium, while the Roosters – during a four-game winning streak – beat the Tigers 16-14 in round 13 at the SFS. The opening game at Homebush saw just two tries (Corey Thompson for Wests and Blake Ferguson for Sydney), with Tuimoala Lolohea’s three goals enough for the Tigers. The Roosters lead 8-2 at halftime in the return clash and survived a Tigers comeback. Daniel Tupou scored two tries for the Roosters.
The five-eighth battle will be vital. After missing the ANZAC Day game, Luke Keary will be keen to bounce back and solidify the Roosters’ top two spot. With Origin around the corner, Keary will be keen to push for a NSW jersey.
Benji Marshall is also returning after a four game absence. He was a big part of the Tigers’ fast start to the season, winning their opening two games. His experience will be handy, but Keary’s hunger should tilt this game the Roosters’ way.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday May 4th.
WHO WILL WIN?
The Sydney Roosters should cruise to a seventh straight win and solidify their top two spot. Wests have been too inconsistent and it’s hard to see them making a dent against the impressive Roosters.
Sydney Roosters by 12.