It’s Round 24 in the Telstra Premiership, and after nine straight wins to the Roosters, they face their biggest challenge so far this season.
After a heart-breaking Golden Point loss in Round six at Suncorp Stadium, the Roosters have a shot at redemption in a blockbuster Top 2 clash against the Broncos this Saturday night.
This time we’re on our turf, with two near full strength sides going head-to-head in what is sure to be an absolute beauty.
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck | Darius Boyd
2. Daniel Tupou | Lachlan Maranta
3. Michael Jennings | Jack Reed
4. Blake Ferguson | Justin Hodges
5. Brendan Elliot | Jordan Kahu
6. James Maloney | Anthony Milford
7. Mitchell Pearce | Ben Hunt
8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves | Sam Thaiday
9. Jake Friend | Andrew McCullough
10. Dylan Napa | Adam Blair
11. Boyd Cordner | Alex Glenn
12. Aidan Guerra | Matt Gillett
13. Sio Siua Taukeiaho | Corey Parker
14. Jackson Hastings | Jarrod Wallace
15. Isaac Liu | Mitchell Dodds
16. Kane Evans | Jo Ofahengaue
17. Mitchell Aubusson | Kodi Nikorima
18. Suaia Matagi
19. Latrell Mitchell
Number one: Both fullbacks in this contest are exceptional in their own right. While Darius Boyd plays more like a second five/eighth, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck plays a run and gun, razzle dazzle style of football that doesn’t suit every side.
After struggling with his style of football in Newcastle over the last couple of seasons, Boyd has settled back in at Brisbane beautifully, becoming an integral part of the side almost instantly.
Tuivasa-Sheck on the other hand is playing just his first season as a fullback, shifting from the wing where he played over the last two seasons.
Where this game is won has nothing to do with experience though, with both sides boasting plenty of attacking weapons and hard hitting defensive lines, these two will have to do all the little things right for their sides. If they stray too far away from their usual style of football, it could spell trouble.
Haven’t we met before?: Indeed they have, as the Kangaroos teammates and State of Origin counterparts. There is no battle more intriguing nor integral than that of Michael Jennings and Justin Hodges in the centres. It seems like a mismatch of sorts, with Hodges comfortable covering Jennings when it comes to sides, yet they seem to cover each other well at a representative level.
This is the final season for Hodges, with the former Rooster throwing in the towel at seasons end, meaning Jennings will no longer defend him at State of Origin level.
With the Blues suffering a heartbreaking demolition in the third game of the Series, Jennings has a great opportunity to add some extra fire to this clash. For what could potentially be the final time these two play each other in their careers, it’s bound to be a good one.
Halves: James Maloney and Mitchell Pearce will take on the form halves pairing of Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt. This one is a real mouth waterer, as these are more than likely the best halves in the competition.
While Milford and Hunt have played a run and gun style of football since their combination began this year, Maloney and Pearce have become a controlled halves pairing over their three seasons playing together.
The difference is huge, but none the less clinical for their respective sides. Dependant on the performance of respective forward packs, this halves battle is what will decide who goes home with two competition points.
Round two: Arguably the most vital and most talked about clash surrounding this battle, and for reasons that don’t need a whole lot of explanation.
They say that what happens on the field stays on the field, if that’s the case then on the field these two are anything but friends.
The last battle between them was fierce and fiery, and that’s not the only time they’ve had heated encounters.
These forward packs boast plenty of big men, and these two are the ones to lead with the front foot.
HEAD TO HEAD
Played | 39 | Roosters- 15 | Broncos- 24
At Allianz | Roosters- 7 | Broncos- 14
2015. Broncos DEF Roosters 22-18 at Suncorp Stadium
2014. Roosters DEF Broncos 30-26 at Suncorp Stadium
2013. Roosters DEF Broncos 8-0 at Allianz Stadium
2012. Broncos DEF Roosters 40-22 at Allianz Staium
2011. Broncos DEF Roosters 24-6 at Bluetongue Stadium
The last three games played by these two clubs were decided by less than two converted tries. We should be expecting no different on Saturday night no matter which way the pendulum swings.
The Roosters have had a string of incomplete performances as part of their nine game winning streak, with the last three matches seeing fade-outs at key moments.
If the Roosters can put together an eighty minute performance against the benchmark team, there is no telling what the result will be, but make mistakes or fade away and prepare to perish.