Match Preview | Round 7
In what is destined to be a physical and tightly contested battle on Monday night, the Sydney Roosters will take on the Penrith Panthers on the back of an impressive maiden victory last Friday night.
The Roosters were impressive against South Sydney, with their defence setting the tone in what was a much-needed two competition points for the Tricolours.
In four of their first six games this season, the Roosters have battled hard in nail-biting games against tough competition.
The Panthers have been in a similar position so far, with five of their last six clashes decided by 5 points or less.
The stage is set for an exciting neck-and-neck battle, and the Roosters will need to be on their game if they’re to walk away with a victory.
Latrell Mitchell 1 Matt Moylan (c)
Daniel Tupou 2 Josh Mansour
Brendan Elliot 3 Waqa Blake
Blake Ferguson 4 Peta Hiku
Shaun Kenny-Dowall 5 Dallin Watene Zelezniak
Jayden Nikorima 6 Te Maire Martin
Jackson Hastings 7 Jamie Soward
Sam Moa 8 Sam McKendry
Jake Friend (c) 9 Peter Wallace
Dylan Napa 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
Mitchell Aubusson 11 Bryce Cartwright
Aidan Guerra 12 Isaah Yeo
Isaac Liu 13 Trent Merrin
Kane Evans 14 Leilani Latu
Mitchell Frei 15 Jeremy Latimore
Eloni Vunakece 16 Suaia Matagi
Abraham Papalii 17 James Fisher-Harris
One of the form wingers of the competition, Dallin Watene Zelezniak appears to be improving each year for the Panthers.
On Monday night, he will be marking the high-flying Daniel Tupou in what is set to be a contest of dazzling athleticism.
While Tupou boasts length and leaping ability, Watene Zelezniak is lightening quick and extremely safe under the high ball.
This battle of exciting wing-men is one that should have the fans excited for Round 7.
Both on debut in 2016, the upcoming five-eighth battle is an intriguing one.
Te Maire Martin was impressive in his debut for the Penrith Panthers, so much so that the 20 year old has found himself a home in the starting side.
Jayden Nikorima has played in all games for the Roosters in 2016, showing glimpses of what he is capable of in first grade throughout the season.
Martin has played less games than Nikorima this season, with Monday night being only his fifth game in the top grade.
It’s the position that helps steer the ship, and this week the five-eighth position is filled by young guns with a stack of potential.
One of the stories of the year, Eloni Vunakece looks set to make his third straight appearance for the Roosters on Monday night.
Also coming off the bench is his opponent, the former Roosters enforcer Suaia Matagi.
Matagi came to the Roosters mid-season last year and found a home on the bench at the back end of the season.
Both players have spent their share of time working their way up the ranks, and will showcase their hard-work when the starters get a breather.
2015 | Roosters DEF Panthers 24-4 | at Pepper Stadium
2015 | Roosters DEF Panthers 20-12 | at Allianz Stadium
2014 | Panthers DEF Roosters 19-18 | at Allianz Stadium
2014 | Roosters DEF Panthers 32-12 | at Allianz Stadium
2013 | Roosters DEF Panthers 42-6 | at Centrebet Stadium
The Roosters have been caught in some tight battles to start the year, and it is likely that this week will be no different.
If they can bring the same tough mentality they had against the Rabbitohs, there is no doubt the Roosters will go far towards collecting a win.
The Panthers have a dangerous backline, and it’s going to take a massive effort to shut them down.