Match Preview | Round 14

It’s State of Origin time in the NRL, with Game 2 of the series to be played next week in Melbourne. However, there are eight clubs that will be playing NRL football this weekend, including the Sydney Roosters, who will be missing four players this weekend due to Origin.

No match comes easy in this competition, but one challenge that is never to be taken lightly is playing the New Zealand Warriors over this Origin period, where they are bound to shine with few players reporting for Origin duty.

The Warriors will be without Ryan Hoffman and Jacob Lillyman this weekend, while the Roosters will be missing Mitchell Pearce, Michael Jennings, Boyd Cordner and Aidan Guerra.

This matchup comes with some great excitement, with some returning faces, fresh faces and young talent getting an opportunity to show what they're made of on the big stage, how could you not be excited about what is to come this weekend at Mount Smart Stadium?

KEY MATCH-UPS:

The Halfbacks: While the Warriors will be going with their usual club half Shaun Johnson, the Roosters have selected Jackson Hastings to take his first NRL start at halfback on Saturday. Jackson has been coming off the bench for the Roosters in the last four games, playing a dummy half role when Jake Friend goes off for a breather. This weekend we get to see what Jackson is capable of doing. His opposite is an international, his Holden Cup position is halfback and he has many years to go in this league to prove himself, with his first real test this weekend.

The Returning Centres: While Konrad Hurrell has been named to return for the Warriors, the Roosters have named Blake Ferguson which makes for an intense battle on the edge. Neither centre has played much football to start this year, but both have an undeniable X factor for their teams. Though this will be a big task, we know that Blake isn’t one to back down from a challenge.

VERDICT:

The Roosters had an off day at Remondis Stadium last Sunday. There is no doubt they weren’t at their best and will be keen to return to the standards that they pride themselves on. With missing stars, returning players with points to prove and some fresh blood, this could be just the fixture the Roosters need to show they’re one of the top teams in the competition. While the Warriors are no easy task over Origin period, there is plenty of talent in this pack and they’ll be up to this challenge in Auckland.