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MATCH PREVIEW | Sydney Roosters vs Newcastle Knights

Todd Warren previews Roosters vs Knights from the SCG as both teams get to name strong lineups.

TEAM FORM GUIDE

Roosters

The defending premiers had a tough loss last week against a very determined Cowboys side. They’ll be fired up after that and with all troops back on deck looking to return to the form that saw them go on an eight game winning streak after their Round One loss to the Rabbitohs.

Knights

The boys from the Hunter are coming off back to back losses for the first time since their five game skid ended back in April. Like the Roosters they have named their strongest side in a while and need to start winning to lock themselves in the top eight.

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SQUAD NEWS

Roosters

It feels like a very long time since the Roosters had a lineup this strong. Luke Keary has been back a few weeks and Jake Friend is back in the number nine jersey after a strong return last week. The only real puzzling thing is Brett Morris on the bench after playing well in the centres last week. Ryan Hall is a massive human being though and showed how good he could be last week with 20 runs, 189 metres and drawing multiple defenders to bring him down.

Roosters team list:

1. James Tedesco
2. Daniel Tupou
3. Latrell Mitchell
4. Joseph Manu
5. Ryan Hall
6. Luke Keary
7. Cooper Cronk
8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
9. Jake Friend
10. Siosiua Taukeiaho
11. Boyd Cordner
12. Mitch Aubusson
13. Victor Radley
14. Isaac Liu
15. Nat Butcher
16. Angus Crichton
17. Brett Morris

Knights

Back to (almost) full strength after the Origin period. Kalyn Ponga is back at fullback which pushes Connor Watson to the bench and retains Kurt Mann at 5/8th.  Aidan Guerra is on an extended bench and is a chance of being a late inclusion after a few weeks in reserve grade.

Knights Team List:

1. Kalyn Ponga
2. Hymel Hunt
3. Tautau Moga
4. Jesse Ramien
5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall
6. Kurt Mann
7. Mitch Pearce
8. Daniel Saifiti
9. Danny Levi
10. David Klemmer
11. Mitch Barnett
12. Sione Mata’utai
13. Tim Glasby
14. Connor Watson
15. James Gavet
16. Herman Ese’ese
17. Jamie Buhrer

HEAD TO HEAD

Roosters have obviously been dominant lately with the Knights going through a rebuild and the defending champs being very consistent under the coaching of Trent Robinson. Sydney have won eight of the last ten, however the Knights got a big 38-12 when these teams faced off back in Round 11 with Kalyn Ponga scoring 18 points.

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KEY BATTLE

Battle of the fullbacks. The two first choice Origin fullbacks James Tedesco and Kalyn Ponga. Both have the ability to rip opposition teams apart by themselves and are firmly in the conversation about best players in the game. Tedesco has obviously been playing at the elite level for longer and is coming off a huge Origin series where he won the Wally Lewis Medal, but no matter which way this game goes you can bet that one of these guys will have a hand in the result.

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THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

Date: Saturday July 20
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground
Kick-off: 3pm
Referee: Ashley Klein, Gavin Badger

WHO WILL WIN?

Tight one. This should be a great game and likely best game of the round. Roosters are favourites but I think it’ll be a lot closer than the bookies are predicting. Roosters by two.

 

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