Josh Mercer previews the round 22 match between the Roosters and the Cowboys.
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Joseph Manu 5. Joseph Suaalii 6. Luke Keary 7. Sam Walker 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Sam Verrills 10. Matthew Lodge 11. Angus Crichton 12. Nat Butcher 13. Victor Radley 14. Connor Watson 15. Egan Butcher 16. Drew Hutchison 17. Terrell May 18. Adam Keighran 19. Fletcher Baker 20. Kevin Naiqama 21. Ben Thomas 22. Siua Wong
Sam Verrills has been named but will have to pass HIA protocols. Egan Butcher (suspension) returns; Siosiua Taukeiaho (cheekbone) and Lindsay Collins (concussion) are still out.Embed from Getty Images
Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Peta Hiku 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Tom Dearden 7. Chad Townsend 8. Coen Hess 9. Reece Robson 10. Reuben Cotter 11. Tom Gilbert 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Jordan McLean 15. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 16. Luciano Leilua 17. Griffin Neame 18. Brendan Elliot 19. Ben Hampton 20. Jake Granville 21. Riley Price 22. Connelly Lemuelu
Reuben Cotter moves from the bench to the starting side, and Jamayne Taunia-Brown moves back to the bench. Jordan McClean (hamstring) returns from the injury that left him out of the Origin side, and Kyle Feldt (hamstring) is out.
The Roosters are making moves at the right time of the season. They can still play finals football with only four games left, even with their hard run home. Beating the Broncos last week helped a lot.
What a season the Cowboys are having. They are second on the ladder and have emerged as genuine title contenders. They did well to put away a game Bulldogs side last week. Several stars have emerged from this season. Scott Drinkwater has been carving defences in his new home at fullback, while Valentine Holmes has gone to another level.
The halves from both sides hold the key in this game. While Keary and Walker took a while to find their feet, they are coming out of their early funk just in time. The Roosters forwards are going their have their work cut out for them; they will have to go to an extra level when taking on the likes of Cotter, Taumalolo and co. A bright spot for Roosters is that they have already beaten the Cowboys this year (28-4 in Round 4).
This game is a good chance for the Cowboys to stamp their authority and deal a blow to the Roosters’ finals hopes. They look so good this season it’s hard not to picture them lining up for a grand final appearance.Embed from Getty Images
Both teams are virtually identical in every stat: the one where the Roosters are ahead is overall wins. In 38 games, the Roosters have won 26 games, and the Cowboys 12.
Cowboys by 14.
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