Josh Mercer previews the round 18 clash between the Sydney Roosters and the St. George Illawarra Dragons.
Sydney Roosters Vs St George Illawarra Dragons
Venue: Central Coast Stadium.
Date: Saturday, July 16, 3:00 pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Billy Smith 4. Paul Momirovski 5. Joseph Suaalii 6. Joseph Manu 7. Sam Walker 8. Lindsay Collins 9. Sam Verrills 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Angus Crichton 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Victor Radley 14. Connor Watson 15. Egan Butcher 16. Nat Butcher 17. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 18. Drew Hutchison 19. Matthew Lodge 20. Lachlan Lam 21. Fletcher Baker 22. Kevin Naiqama 23. Adam Keighran 24. Terrell May
At this stage, all of the Roosters’ Origin players will be backing up as they have been named. Luke Keary is still out due to a concussion, and Joseph Manu will play five-eighth. Controversial signing Matt Lodge has been named in the squad, but no announcement has been made as to whether he will play yet.Embed from Getty Images
Dragons: 1. Cody Ramsey 2. Mathew Feagai 3. Moses Suli 4. Zac Lomax 5. Tautau Moga 6. Talatau Amone 7. Ben Hunt 8. Francis Molo 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Jack Bird 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Jack de Belin 14. Moses Mbye 15. Josh Kerr 16. Aaron Woods 17. Jaiyden Hunt 18. Michael Molo 19. Jayden Sullivan 20. Tyrell Sloan 21. Billy Burns 22. Josh McGuire
Ben Hunt will be monitored after his game-winning performance for the Maroons – but has been named. Mikaele Ravalawa (hamstring) will miss the game; Tautau Moga has been named on the wing. Jack de Bellan comes into the starting side for Tariq Sims (suspended).
Referee: Grant Atkins
Both sides are coming off tough losses. The Roosters lost against the ladder-leading Panthers and the Dragons had a tough day against the Broncos. A win here will either side take a step closer to making the top eight, and the losing side will be one step closer to planning their end-of-season trip.
The Roosters played well against the Panthers, and they could have won if a couple of things had gone their way. Luke Keary will be sorely missed again, but Joey Manu gets the chance at number six. This is exciting for Roosters fans, and Manu getting his hands on the ball more is a good thing.
They didn’t didn’t fare so well against Broncos without their halfback Ben Hunt. They had to play 20 minutes of the first half with 12 players as Tariq Sims was sin-binned twice. To their credit, the Dragons kept with the Broncos early through scintillating tries to Cody Ramsay and Moses Suli. They were overrun in the second, with the Broncos seemingly having the Steeden on a string.
The Roosters need to play with the same intensity as they did against the Panthers, not just this game but every game if they are to play finals football this year. Having Jared Waerea-Hargreaves back is a bonus and it won’t be a surprise if he gets named to start just before kick-off. Trent Robinson needs to remind the Roosters that they lost the ANZAC Day game to the Dragons, and another loss here is unacceptable.
The Dragons had bright spots in their loss to the Broncos. But without their on-field general Hunt, the Dragons didn’t have anyone to lead them to victory. He is back this week and will be high off his game-winning try in Origin. Cody Ramsey had a great game at fullback, and he will need to be on again this weekend if the Dragons are to win.
The Roosters can not afford to play catch-up football; it never goes well. It was evident in the last game these two played. They will need to get in front and stay there. Manu has a licence to roam. If he doesn’t, then Drew Hutchison will be playing five eighth next week.Embed from Getty Images
Trent Robinson is coaching his 250th game. In his other milestone games, the Roosters have won. Will this weekend be the same?
Roosters by eight.
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