Match Preview | Elimination Final
It comes down to six teams this week, with the Roosters still alive after a narrow loss to the Melbourne Storm last Friday night.
There are no more favours in the Finals, with every game from now on being a do-or-die battle.
With no time to dwell on what went wrong in the first week of the Finals, it’s on to the next one and this week we face the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in a literally massive clash this Friday night at Allianz Stadium.
The last time we played things got very physical, and that will be no different this week.
With the obvious upfront battle being one to look forward to, there are plenty of intriguing match-ups in this one.
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck | Brett Morris
2. Daniel Tupou | Curtis Rona
3. Michael Jennngs | Josh Morris
4. Blake Ferguson | Timoteo Lafai
5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall | Sam Perrett
6. James Maloney | Josh Reynolds
7. Mitchell Pearce | Moses Mbye
8. Sam Moa | Aidan Tolman
9. Jake Friend | Damien Cook
10. Dylan Napa | James Graham
11. Boyd Cordner | Josh Jackson
12. Aidan Guerra | Frank Pritchard
13. Sio Siua Taukeiaho | Greg Eastwood
14. Jackson Hastings | Sam Kasiano
15. Isaac Liu | Shaun Lane
16. Kane Evans | David Klemmer
17. Mitchell Aubusson | Tim Browne
18. Suaia Matagi | Lloyd Perrett
The X-Factor: The fullbacks present plenty of razzle dazzle for their clubs, but couldn’t be more different in style. Brett Morris provides his side with a support runner that excels at just that, running.
The speed and defence from Morris has been the key to his success at club and representative level for many years.
Season 2015 has been a breakout year for Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, with the fullback filling the number 1 spot full time for the first time in his young career.
In his first year he has broken the record for the most metres run by a single player in a season, proven himself among elite fullbacks in the competition and was selected in the winning Kiwis side for the international test earlier in the year.
To put it bluntly, it you’re not fond of the idea of this match-up on Friday, you probably don’t like NRL football.
When speed matches strength: It’s not just Brett Morris that is in great form this season, with twin brother Josh Morris also playing at an elite level in 2015.
Since breaking a long try-scoring drought this season, Josh has been playing outstanding football for his team. If the Roosters don’t lock him down this Friday, he will run rampant.
If there was anyone you’d trust to get that job done, it’s Blake Ferguson.
Ferguson has spent this season feeling his way back into NRL football after a lengthy stint on the sideline.
While we’ve seen glimpses of the brilliance he possesses, he’s had an overall good year for the Roosters.
Handling every challenge handed to him so far, a hungry Morris this Friday is definitely one of the bigger ones.
Straight back to work: This week we welcome back Captain Mitchell Pearce from injury, but it won’t be an easy transition.
Not just because he’s straight into an Elimination Final, but because he’s up against in-form halfback Moses Mbye.
Mbye has had a breakout season for the Bulldogs, and has been rewarded with a starting spot because of it.
Mbye has an accurate kicking game, plenty of speed and good vision.
Pearce went down early in the first half against the Broncos in Round 24 with a hamstring injury.
Though it won’t be an easy task for Pearce, the New South Wales halfback has plenty of class and finals experience to settle back into his role nicely.
At Allianz Stadium | Played- 23 | Roosters- 12 | Bulldogs- 11
2015 | Roosters DEF Bulldogs 38-28 at Allianz Stadium
2015 | Roosters DEF Bulldogs 24-10 at ANZ Stadium
2014 | Roosters DEF Bulldogs 32-12 at ANZ Stadium
2014 | Bulldogs DEF Roosters 9-8 at Allianz Stadium
2013 | Roosters DEF Bulldogs 20-18 at ANZ Stadium
The Roosters have won 5 their last 6 clashes with the Bulldogs, gaining an edge since Trent Robinson was appointed the Head Coach position in 2013.
That record can be thrown away this Friday night, as Finals football is a totally different beast to the regular season.
The Roosters haven’t met the Bulldogs in a final since the infamous 2004 Grand Final, the Bulldogs coming out of that particular match victorious.
It’s always physical, entertaining and classic football when these teams play, and we shouldn’t expect any different on Friday.
If the forwards can match it with the Bulldogs big men, there’s no reason that the Roosters won’t be heading to Brisbane for the Preliminary Final next week.