Match Preview | Round 22

There are just five games remaining in the regular season for 2015. For some teams it’s time to re-assess after a disappointing season, for some it’s time to fight for a spot in the eight, and some are playing to cement or even improve their top four ranking.

The Roosters have now won seven games in a row, boasting impressive form at the back end of the season. For them it’s about improving ladder position and maintaining their current form, with a top spot finish still in reach after the Broncos suffered a loss to the Sea Eagles on the weekend.

For the Knights it’s time to re-assess. After a red hot start to the season, their season collapsed, winning only two games out of their last fifteen. Though the rest of the Knights season is about pride, this is a dangerous side capable of beating anybody on their day.

The alarm should be sounding in this one as the Roosters head to Newcastle to take on the Knights, where anything is possible and nothing should be taken as a given.

Key Match-ups

A Battle Only For Backrowers: Though the forward battle is bound to be entertaining, there is plenty of intrigue coming out of the 11 and 12 positions, with Boyd Cordner to take on Blues and Kangaroos teammate Beau Scott, and an in-form Mitchell Aubusson goes head-to-head with big gun Tariq Sims.

Boyd and Beau, a match-up that again sounds like a TV sitcom with canned laughter and bickering housemates. It is going to be anything but though, with the representative teammates likely to be keen to assert ascendancy for their sides.
It’s going to be physical, it’s going to be gruelling and you WILL be entertained.

On to Mitchell and Tariq, not as catchy as Boyd and Beau, but no less intriguing.
Mitchell Aubusson has been on fire this season, starting the season as a utility off the Roosters bench, Aubusson is now a starter for the Roosters and continues to impress.

What makes this match-up interesting and challenging for Aubusson is that Sims is big and bruising, almost playing like a prop. Aubusson plays a mobile style of game, showing impressive foot-work and speed for a player in his current position.

The caution for Aubusson is that Sims will not take this battle lightly, and will not go easy on him for any reason. It’s time to muscle up and get ready for a physical battle between these two.

Utility: Both benches are boasting an impressive number fourteen on their benches, with Newcastle set to play Tyler Randell and the Roosters set to play Jackson Hastings.

Both of these guys are young, with Randell at 22, while Hastings is only 19 years old. Both have had a shot at first grade this season, and both have impressed.
Though neither of them are starting at the moment, both will undoubtedly be there in the not-so-distant future.

Jackson Hastings is a likely contender for the Roosters five-eighth duties next year, having impressed in his halves debut earlier in the year.

It there was ever a time for two guys to impress, why not do it when they are opponents?

VERDICT

Based on form, it’s difficult to argue that the Roosters should be too good this weekend.
However, that should never be the mindset, for fans, coaches or players alike.
Any game away from home should be treated like a danger game, and no doubt this game has a lot of danger signs. The Knights will be firing with their newly appointed interim Coach Danny Buderus trying to change the mindset at Newcastle, while the Roosters need to try and back up from a tough battle last weekend.

The Roosters went to Newcastle last year with the Knights in a similar situation to this one, and it was the Knights to come out victorious.

Can the Roosters make it eight in a row? Yes! But they can’t ignore the warning signs.