2024 NRL: Round 1 Preview, Roosters Vs Broncos

Check out the match preview and prediction for the round 1 clash between the Roosters and Broncos.

MATCHDAY NEWS

MATCHDAY SCHEDULE

Sydney Roosters Vs Brisbane Broncos
Venue: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas
Date: Sunday March 3, 3:30pm

MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Billy Smith 4. Joseph Manu 5. Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii 6. Luke Keary 7. Sam Walker 8. Spencer Leniu 9. Brandon Smith 10. Lindsay Collins 11. Siua Wong 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Victor Radley 14. Sandon Smith 15. Naufahu Whyte 16. Nat Butcher 17. Terrell May 18. Fetalaiga Pauga 19. Angus Crichton 20. Egan Butcher 21. Zach Dockar-Clay 22. Connor Watson

Broncos: 1. Reece Walsh 2. Jesse Arthars 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Selwyn Cobbo 5. Deine Mariner 6. Ezra Mam 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Corey Jensen 9. Billy Walters 10. Payne Haas 11. Brendan Piakura 12. Jordan Riki 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Tyson Smoothy 15. Fletcher Baker 16. Kobe Hetherington 17. Xavier Willison 18. Corey Oates 19. Jock Madden 20. Tristan Sailor 21. Martin Taupau 22. Jaiyden Hunt

Referee: Adam Gee

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MATCHDAY PREVIEW

The second match of the NRL’s historic Las Vegas double-header sees two teams firmly in the premiership discussion going head-to-head in a battle of Sydney versus Brisbane.

Kicking off at 8:30pm Saturday night local time in Las Vegas (3:30pm in NSW/VIC, 2:30pm in QLD on Sunday afternoon), this match will follow Manly versus South Sydney.

As the designated home team, the Roosters will be using the same dressing rooms that the Kansas City Chiefs used during their recent Super Bowl success. Since arriving in the US, the Roosters have been based in Los Angeles, training at UCLA.

The Broncos have also been based in California, however it has been a more low-key preparation, aside from an appearance at a Los Angeles Lakers NBA game. Both teams travel to Las Vegas this week.

The Roosters enter the match without new recruit Dom Young (neck) and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (suspension). Their other big-name recruit Spencer Leniu will be looking to make an immediate impact, named to partner Lindsay Collins in the front row against the opponents that he beat in last year’s grand final. Siua Wong retains his second row position after an impressive 2023, joined by Sitili Tupouniua who returns after missing much of 2023 injured. Trent Robinson has rewarded form over reputation, with young guns Sandon Smith and Naufahu Whyte on the bench ahead of Angus Crichton, Egan Butcher, and Connor Watson.

All eyes will be on the Broncos to see how they bounce back from their record 16-point collapse in the grand final. Herbie Farnworth, Tom Flegler (both Dolphins), Kurt Capewell (Warriors), and Keenan Palasia (Titans) have all departed from that game, replaced by a mix of youth and experience in the form of Deine Mariner, Corey Jenson, Brendan Piakura, and Xavier Willison. Fletcher Baker has been named on the bench against his former club.

Despite historically struggling against the Broncos, the Roosters have dominated fixtures between these clubs in recent years, winning six of the past nine. The Broncos won their lone meeting in 2023 at the Gabba, 32-10. The Broncos also won the only previous match-up between the two sides outside Sydney or Brisbane in 2011, 24-6.

The Roosters have been notoriously slow starters in the 11 seasons Robinson has coached them, winning only three round 1 games (2015, 2017, and 2021). The Broncos have fared somewhat better, winning six times in round 1 since 2013, including three of their past four.

When it comes to playing in foreign environments, the Roosters won their inaugural game outside Australia (22-18 against Newcastle at Auckland’s Carlaw Park in 1993), while they maintain an unbeaten record in the Northern Hemisphere (three World Club Challenges and one World Club Series in England and an exhibition game against Manly in Japan). The Broncos meanwhile lost their first premiership match outside Australia against Canterbury in 1993 (20-10 at Carlaw Park), but won a Toohey’s Challenge semi-final in Auckland in 1992 and the World Club Challenge in Wigan later that year. Their overall record in the Northern Hemisphere is six wins from nine games, all in World Club games in England.

Head-to-head stats can be found at Round 1 Number Crunch.

MATCHDAY PREDICTION

Broncos by 4 points.

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