Daniel Zealey previews the World Club Challenge, as St Helens and Sydney Roosters battle to be the best side in club rugby. This is what we have to look forward to.
The Saints bounced back last weekend with an away win at Hull FC. Despite trailing 6-2 at the break, Kristan Woolf’s side were hugely impressive in the second half, running out 32-18 winners.
They have won two of their three Super league matches. With their one defeat being a 19-0 defeat to Warrington Wolves
Due to the NRL schedule, the Roosters are yet to play a competitive game. The Australian champions have named 14 of the 17 players who featured in their grand final win in his 21-man squad.
They beat Canberra Raiders 14-8 in the 2019 NRL grand final.
The Saints surprised many when naming their squad. Despite saying that Mark Percival will require surgery and be out for months he has been named in the 21-man squad.
Welsh winger Regan Grace is not named in the squad after suffering a concussion on Sunday. However, Matty Costello and captain James Roby are named in the squad.
Squad: 2 Tommy Makinson, 3 Kevin Naiqama, 4 Mark Percival, 6 Jonny Lomax, 7 Theo Fages, 8 Alex Walmsley, 9 James Roby, 10 Luke Thompson, 11 Zeb Taia, 12 Dom Peyroux, 13 Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14 Morgan Knowles, 15 Matty Lees, 16 Kyle Amor, 18 Joseph Paulo, 19 Aaron Smith, 20 James Bentley, 21 Matty Costello, 22 Jack Welsby, 27 Lewis Dodd, 30 Tom Nisbet.
Sydney will be without their captain, Boyd Cordner. They are also without Latrell Mitchell who moved to rivals, the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Kyle Flanagan is set to make his debut after moving from Cronulla Sharks in the place of the retired Cooper Cronk.
Squad:1 James Tedesco, 2 Daniel Tupou, 3 Angus Crichton, 4 Joseph Manu, 5 Brett Morris, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Kyle Flanagan, 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 9 Jake Friend (c), 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho, 11 Sitili Tupouniua, 12 Mitchell Aubusson, 13 Victor Radley, 14 Sam Verrills, 15 Isaac Liu, 16 Nat Butcher, 17 Lindsay Collins, 18 Matt Ikuvalu, 19 Poasa Faamausili, 20 Asu Kepaoa, 21 Lachlan Lam.
If the Southern Hemisphere side are victorious, they will have won the most World Club Challenges, as they currently sit with four along with Wigan.
The last time the sides played each other in this was in 2003, with Sydney winning 38-0.
The Saints also failed to upset the scorers the last time they played in it. They lost at home to South Sydney 39-0.
BATTLE TO WATCH
Jonny Lomax vs James Tedesco
The key battle between the two sides could be between two of the most influential players on both sides. Jonny Lomax and James Tedesco are very important to their respective sides.
Last weekend, Lomax was very impressive in the win at Hull. With three assists in that match, he secured three points in the Man of Steel standings which puts him joint top.
Lomax runs at defences and isn’t scared to attack the line. With playing in his team mates with short passes he needs to be nullified if Sydney are to win. His kicking game also makes him difficult to handle and is a huge part of Saints’ attack.
Tedesco has emerged in reason years as one of the most critical players in the league. This has seen him represent both Australia and New South Wales.
An impressive 2019 saw him rewarded with the Daily M medal. Similar to Lomax he is a fullback that isn’t afraid to attack the line, which allows team mates around him to capitalise.
He is arguably the biggest asset in the Roosters side and certain someone Saints need to keep a close eye on.
Date: Saturday February 22nd
Venue: Totally Wicked Stadium
Kick-off: 7:45 pm (local)