Andrew Pelechaty previews the opening game of Round 21: the Sydney Roosters vs the Brisbane Broncos…
Sydney Roosters Vs Brisbane Broncos
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Moore Park.
Date: Thursday August 4, 7:50pm
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. Ben Thomas 16. Drew Hutchison 17. Terrell May 18. Adam Keighran 19. Fletcher Baker 20. Kevin Naiqama 21. Renouf Atoni 22. Siua Wong.
Lindsay Collins (concussion) and Egan Butcher (suspension) are out, Matt Lodge starts at prop, Terrell May and Ben Thomas are on the bench.Embed from Getty Images
Broncos: 1. Tesi Niu 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Deine Mariner 5. Selwyn Cobbo 6. Ezra Mam 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Flegler 9. Billy Walters 10. Payne Haas 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Jordan Riki 13. Kobe Hetherington 14. Jake Turpin 15. Rhys Kennedy 16. Corey Jensen 17. Keenan Palasia 18. Te Maire Martin 19. Zac Hosking 20. Xavier Willison 21. Delouise Hoeter 22. Cory Paix.
Kobe Hetherington replaces Patrick Carrigan (charged with dangerous contact and awaiting suspension). Selwyn Cobbo returns after suffering a concussion in Origin III. Jake Turpin and Rhys Kennedy come into the starting 17.
Referee: Todd Smith.
We’re treated with another huge top eight clash in the lead up to the finals. The Sydney Roosters are clinging onto eighth on points differential (tied with Canberra, with Manly Warringah and St George Illawarra not far behind), while Brisbane are fifth (on equal points with fourth-placed Melbourne).
The Eastern Suburbs club took advantage of a weakened Sea Eagles last Thursday, winning 20-10. The game was an anti-climax after a week of drama, with the Roosters leading 18-6 at half-time (tries to Daniel Tupou, Nat Butcher, and Joseph Manu).
Brisbane had only their third Lang Park loss this year, falling 32-18 to the Wests Tigers. The Tigers, perhaps driven by the Townsville choas, scored three second half tries (Starford To’a, Zane Musgrove, Adam Doueihi) to break a 12-12 deadlock. You could mark it down as an off night for Brisbane and move on.
The Roosters have a tough run home: Brisbane (SCG), North Queensland (SCG), Tigers, Melbourne (AAMI Park), and Souths. With Canberra, Manly, and the Dragons on their tail, the Roosters will need to win most of these games to stay in the eight.
Brisbane have a kinder run to the finals: the Roosters, Newcastle (Lang Park), Melbourne (Lang Park), Parramatta (Lang Park), Dragons (Kogarah). Brisbane will fancy winning most of these games, and the blockbuster Friday night Storm clash could decide who finishes fourth. If Brisbane get that double chance, they’ll have a couple of Lang Park finals, which will make them dangerous.
The Roosters won an absolute classic at Lang Park in Round 5. Brisbane matched it with the Roosters, leading 16-12 after 61 minutes before Joseph Manu (scoring his second try) and Sitili Tupouniua gave the Roosters a 24-16 lead, with Corey Oates’ third try keeping Brisbane in touch.
So where does that leave this game?
With a tougher run home and in a logjam for eighth, the Roosters will be more desperate to win, and they’re in-form after big wins over the Dragons, Newcastle, and Manly.Embed from Getty Images
Brisbane and the Roosters played the last daytime grand final in 2000, with the Broncos winning 14-6 at Homebush. It was the Broncos’ fifth title in nine seasons (1992, 1993, 1997 – Super League, 1998, 2000).
It also started a grand final run for the Roosters, playing four in five seasons (2000, 2002, 2003, 2004); though – unlike the dominant Broncos – the Roosters only won one title (2002).
Roosters by four.
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