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2021 NRL Round Seven Preview, Roosters Vs Dragons

Josh Mercer previews the annual ANZAC Day clash between the Sydney Roosters and the St George Illawarra Dragons. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Date: Sunday, April 25th, Time: 4:05 pm

Roosters Team

1. James Tedesco
2. Daniel Tupou
3. Josh Morris
4. Joseph Manu
5. Brett Morris
6. Drew Hutchison
7. Sam Walker
8. Isaac Liu
9. Sam Verrills
10. Siosiua Taukeiaho
11. Angus Crichton
12. Sitili Tupouniua
13. Victor Radley
14. Benjamin Marschke
15. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
16. Nat Butcher
17. Lindsay Collins
18. Fletcher Baker
19. Matt Ikuvalu
20. Egan Butcher
21. Tuku Hau Tapuha

Team Changes

IN: Brett Morris, Egan Butcher, Sam Verrills, Taku Hau Tapuha
OUT: Adam Keighran

Dragons Team

1. Matthew Dufty
2. Cody Ramsey
3. Jack Bird
4. Zac Lomax
5. Mikaele Ravalawa
6. Corey Norman
7. Adam Clune
8. Blake Lawrie
9. Andrew McCullough
10. Paul Vaughan
11. Josh Kerr
12. Tariq Sims
13. Tyrell Fuimaono
14. Kaide Ellis
15. Josh McGuire
16. Daniel Alvaro
17. Brayden Wiliame
18. Billy Burns
19. Poasa Faamausili
20. Jordan Pereira
21. Ben Hunt

Team Changes

IN: Ben Hunt, Blake Lawrie, Jordan Pereira, Poasa Faamausili
OUT:
Trent Merrin

Referee: Ashley Klein

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Roosters

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After coming from behind to defeat the Sharks in round five, the Roosters had no such luck against the Storm, losing 20-4. There was hope for the Roosters early as Josh Morris pounced on a Sam Walker kick to score; however, Morris was ruled to have knocked it on after a heavy clash with Ryan Papenhuyzen and George Jennings. The Roosters were very undisciplined in the first half, giving away numerous penalties and losing lock Victor Radley 10 minutes due to a high tackle on Cameron Munster. The Storm didn’t kick into gear until the second half, with Jerome Hughes, Harry Grant and Papenhuyzen all scoring. The Roosters were able to get on the scoreboard in the last minute of the game with Matt Ikuvalu scoring from a cross-field kick.

Dragons

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The Dragons played good football in a 20-14 defeat to the Warriors last weekend. Cody Ramsay was the first to score for the Dragons, but they found themselves down 12-4 after Paul Turner and Tohu Harris scored for the Warriors. Mikaele Ravalawa got them within four points at halftime. The Dragons edged ahead in the second half when Matt Dufty scored and Zac Lomax converted. The lead was short-lived however as Roger Tuivasa-Sheck scored five minutes later and a penalty goal to Kodi Nikorima gave the Warriors the win.

PREVIEW

The Roosters were very lucky this week, as Radley escaped suspension at the judiciary to take his place in the team. The Roosters were below their best last week; they did well to hold out the Storm in the first half, however the Storm flexed their premiership muscles, something that the Roosters will need to find. Sam Verrills returns this week and it will be interesting to see how he goes.

If there was a better time for the Dragons to beat the Roosters, it is this weekend. After losing their first match, the Dragons have been playing some good football under new coach Anthony Griffin. Even in defeat last week they looked very good. They have very good finishers in Ramsey and Mikaele Ravalawa, and Dufty has been playing some good football: his clash with Tedesco should bring out the best in both players.

KEY STAT

Both teams are pretty level in all areas this season, however where the Dragons have the Roosters one particular area, completions. The Roosters are at an 77% completion rate after five games while the Dragons have 78%.

PREDICTION

Roosters by eight.

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