Match Preview | Round 26
It’s easy to get reminiscent at the end of a season, particularly after 26 tough fought rounds of NRL football.
For the Roosters, there have been plenty of ups, but it didn’t come without its fair share of downs.
After winning 14 of their last 15 matches and 11 of them in a row, the regular season has only one more challenge to throw their way.
This Friday night, the Roosters will battle it out with old rivals the South Sydney Rabbitohs in a battle that always has plenty of feeling in it.
A win this week for the Roosters will not only make it 12 wins in a row, but will also secure the Minor Premiership for a third consecutive year.
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck | Alex Johnston
2. Daniel Tupou | Joel Reddy
3. Michael Jennings | Dylan Walker
4. Blake Ferguson | Kirisome Auva’a
5. Brendan Elliot | Bryson Goodwin
6. James Maloney | Luke Keary
7. Jackson Hastings | Adam Reynolds
8. Sam Moa | George Burgess
9. Jake Friend | Cameron McInnes
10. Dylan Napa | David Tyrell
11. Boyd Cordner | Glenn Stewart
12. Aidan Guerra | Chris McQueen
13. Sio Siua Taukeiaho | Kyle Turner
14. Mitchell Aubusson | Jason Clarke
15. Isaac Liu | Chris Grevsmuhl
16. Kane Evans | Tim Grant
17. Suaia Matagi | Thomas Burgess
18. Matt McIlwrick | Paul Carter
Welcome to the future: The battle at halfback this week will be between two of the most promising young halves in the competition.
While Adam Reynolds has already established himself in the number 7 jersey, he is still just 25 years of age with plenty of room for improvement.
Jackson Hastings is playing just his fourth game as a starter this season, performing well in all appearances to date.
At just 19 years of age, Hastings has impressed his teammates, his Coach and his fans under tremendous pressure to perform at such a tough part of the season.
With two incredibly talented halves going head-to-head on Friday night, who’s to say they won’t be future partners at a representative level in the future?
Time to step up: Sam Moa is more than well aware that he has an enormous challenge this weekend, quite literally enormous.
Moa will line-up against the biggest of the Burgess boys in George, who has been one of the form props for the last few seasons.
With this challenge usually being one for Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Moa will put his hand up to handle the big English International.
While Burgess is much less subtle about his work at prop, Moa is more of a pocket rocket, with plenty of strength to back up his running game.
This one will be a big test, but there is no doubt that Moa will know what to expect from the big man.
Familiar faces: When it comes to the busy backrow for both sides, there is no more intriguing match-up than Boyd Cordner and Glenn Stewart.
These are two guys that know each other well, having played at representative level together on a few occasions, particularly in 2013.
They’ve been on the same field at almost every level, including the Grand Final of 2013.
While Cordner is in amazing form at the present and boasts youth, Stewart is a veteran with plenty of mongrel, even a cool head when his side needs it.
It’s experience vs youth in a rivalry that ages over a hundred years, which backrower will walk away with bragging rights?
2015. Rabbitohs DEF Roosters 34-26 at ANZ Stadium
2014. Rabbitohs DEF Roosters 32-22 at ANZ Stadium
2014. Roosters DEF Rabbitohs 22-18 at Allianz Stadium
2014. Rabbitohs DEF Roosters 28-8 at Allianz Stadium
2013. Roosters DEF Rabbitohs 24-12 at ANZ Stadium
HEAD TO HEAD:
At Allianz Stadium | Played- 34 | Roosters- 22 | Rabbitohs- 12
It’s no secret that both sides are missing some star power for this clash. The Rabbitohs will be without Isaac Luke, John Sutton and their biggest X factor player in Greg Inglis, while the Roosters will be without Mitchell Pearce and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
The team that will walk away from this clash with the final competition points on offer will be the side that shows the most guts, courage and character.
With both sides boasting enormous forwards and flashy backlines, expect plenty of entertainment and enough big hits to bother you from the comfort of your own chair.
Can the Roosters make it 12 wins in a row? Absolutely, but this final regular season challenge won’t be won easily.
They’ve shown they have plenty of character, and that will need to be on show this Friday night.