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MATCH PREVIEW | Sydney Roosters vs Canberra Raiders

The penultimate game of Suncorp Stadium’s Magic Round presents an epic top four clash between the Sydney Roosters and Canberra Raiders.

TEAM FORM GUIDE

Sydney Roosters

The Roosters continued their imperious #EastsToWin form, belting the Wests Tigers 42-12 at the SCG for their seventh straight victory. Latrell Mitchell helped himself to 26 points (three tries, seven goals) as the Roosters recaptured first place on differential over Souths.

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Canberra Raiders

Canberra rebound superbly after the disappointing loss to Manly. Taking a home game to Wagga Wagga (including the Viking Clap), Canberra won 30-12. The Raiders led 14-0 at halftime with tries to Michael Oldfield – on his NRL return – and Jack Wighton. Unlike the last four games against Penrith, Canberra didn’t let them back in. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad redeemed himself from a first half sin binning with a second half try and Hudson Young scored his maiden NRL try. It wasn’t all good news, with John Bateman only playing 26 minutes before a suspected fractured cheekbone. The win lifted Canberra to 6-2 and back to third.

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SQUAD NEWS

Sydney Roosters

Matt Ikuvalu returns on the wing with Joseph Manu back to the centres. Mitch Aubusson goes to the bench with Lindsay Collins dropped to the reserves.

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. Sio Siua Taukeiaho, 11. Boyd Cordner (c), 12. Angus Crichton, 13. Isaac Liu 14. Nat Butcher, 15. Zane Tetevano, 16. Sitili Tupouniua, 17. Mitchell Aubusson 18. Lindsay Collins, 19. Josh Curran 20. Lachlan Lam, 21. Sam Verrills

Canberra Raiders

A big out with Bateman gone for six to eight weeks with his fractured cheekbone, replaced by Hudson Young. In brighter news, Jordan Rapana returns after only a couple of weeks away, with Bailey Simonsson back on the bench.

Canberra squad: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker (c) 4. Michael Oldfield 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Sam Williams 8. Josh Papalii 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Dunamis Lui 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Ryan Sutton 14. Siliva Havili 15. Bailey Simonsson 16. Sia Soliola 17. Corey Horsburgh 18. Aidan Sezer 19. Emre Guler 20. Royce Hunt 21. Jack Murchie

HEAD TO HEAD

While the Roosters have dominated Canberra recently (22-12 since 1998), the Raiders stole a surprise win late in Canberra last year. With the Roosters heading to the minor premiership, Canberra – enjoying a rare Channel Nine game – led 12-0 at halftime and finally hung on to win 14-12. While the Roosters scored two tries to one, Sam Williams’ perfect 5/5 was enough for Canberra. The loss didn’t seem to bother the Roosters, winning four from their next five to claim the premiership.

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KEY BATTLE

The battle of the influential centres – Latrell Mitchell v Jarrod Croker – will be crucial.

Mitchell has scored 95 points this season already (six tries, 35 goals, one field goal), including 26 against the Wests Tigers. Playing all eight games, he’s turned the Roosters into an almost unstoppable force.

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Croker has been equally influential at Canberra. After missing the tailend of last season, Croker shared the captaincy with Josh Hodgson in 2019, scoring 70 points so far. While not as prolific a pointscorer as Mitchell, Croker’s ability to rally the Green Machine has been a big part of their 6-2 record.

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Fresh off a hat-trick against Wests, Mitchell’s tryscoring nous should tip this game in the Roosters’ favour.

THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

Date: Sunday May 12.
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.
Kick-off: 2pm.

WHO WILL WIN?

While Canberra will be embiggened by the Wagga Wagga win, the Roosters should have too much class, helped by the Raiders’ poor record at Suncorp Stadium (not winning there since 2010). Canberra will rip in against the defending premiers, but expect the Roosters to do enough.

Sydney Roosters by four.

Deputy Sports Editor for the Australian Times Weekly



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