After an intense Round 24 of the NRL, it’s a new week with plenty of new challenges on the way.
Following an impressive and gutsy win over the Brisbane Broncos last Saturday night, the Roosters find themselves down a few men heading into this week.
With Jared Waerea-Hargreaves succumbing to an ACL injury, Mitchell Pearce out with a hamstring injury and Michael Jennings suspended for a high shot on Darius Boyd, this week gets a whole lot more challenging.
It’s Round 25 and the boys will head over to the Brookvale Oval fortress to take on the Manly Sea Eagles on Friday night.
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck | Brett Stewart
2. Jorge Taufua | Daniel Tupou
3. Mitchell Aubusson | Jamie Lyon ( c )
4. Blake Ferguson | Steve Matai
5. Brendan Elliot | Peta Hiku
6. James Maloney | Kieran Foran
7. Jackson Hastings | Daly Cherry-Evans
8. Sam Moa | Jake Trbojevic
9. Jake Friend | Blake Leary
10. Dylan Napa | Willie Mason
11. Boyd Cordner| Feleti Mateo
12. Aidan Guerra | Justin Horo
13. Sio Siua Taukeiaho | Ligo Sao
14. Matt McIlwrick | Jesse Sene-Lefao
15. Isaac Liu | Michael Chee-Kam
16. Kane Evans | James Hasson
17. Suaia Matagi | Josh Starling
Have we met before? Actually, no we haven’t. For the first time ever, the pairing of James Maloney and Jackson Hastings will take on the form combination of Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans.
Since they were partnered in the halves for the first time in 2011, Foran and Cherry-Evans have been arguably the best halves combination in the NRL.
They won a Premiership in their first year as halves partners, and have made the top four every year since.
This year has been a different story though, with off-field dramas and injuries being the catalyst for Manly fighting for their season with two rounds remaining.
Maloney and Hastings on the other hand are anything but established, playing together for the first time this year in Round 13 against the Warriors.
They have played one full game together since, and most of last week’s game after Pearce left the field with an injury.
The most convincing note to take out of this clash is that they have a 100% success rate, winning 3/3 of their matches together.
That being said, this is anything but a sure thing on Friday night. As far as challenges are concerned, this will be a big one for the rookie halves pairing.
Won't back down! If there’s anything we know about the veteran former Roosters prop Willie Mason, it’s that he loves to talk.
Mason is never one to shy away from a confrontation, and will happily stand his ground whenever he is given the chance.
This week he will line-up against the first year regular starter Dylan Napa, who has been playing an outstanding brand of football this season.
After being promoted to starting prop earlier in the season, Napa has been playing like a man that isn’t willing to budge for anybody, having found a perfectly fitting home in the number 10 jersey.
What makes this challenge so beautiful is these two are as tough as they come.
While Napa has been in good form, he’ll need to show a lot of respect to this particular opponent.
The big veteran won’t be standing down to anyone this weekend, and will definitely try to crawl under your skin when given the chance.
2014: Sea Eagles DEF Roosters 24-16 (at Brookvale Oval)
2014: Sea Eagles DEF Roosters 8-0 (at Allianz Stadium)
2013: Roosters DEF Sea Eagles 4-0 (at Allianz Stadium)
2013: Roosters DEF Sea Eagles 18-12 (at Allianz Stadium)
2013: Roosters DEF Sea Eagles 16-4 (at Brookvale Oval)
At Brookvale | Sea Eagles- 35 | Roosters- 12
There is no need to disguise the fact there are no easy wins at Brookvale Oval. The place is a fortress, the stadium is always packed with their supporters and they love to grind it out at home.
After losing both of our games to Manly last year, this Round is a chance to snatch the only win available over Manly in the regular season.
Why is this going to be a difficult task? Simply question when you look at their side, their record at home and our record at Brookvale, but the devil is always in the details.
The Roosters have been flying high this season, while the Sea Eagles have under-achieved, seeing them on the verge of missing the finals altogether.
Being the resilient and dominant side they are, this will be playing on their minds more than anything.
This is a team that plays finals football, a team that will do anything to reach that top half of the ladder.
The Roosters are a little shy on troops, but are fielding a more-than-capable side this week.
How are the Roosters going to win it? By keeping it simple, letting the forwards run hard through the middle, completing sets, getting to the kick, ball handling and patience.
After an exhausting performance last week, they’ll need to back up well to walk away with two points at Brookvale Oval.