One of the surprise packets of the season, the New Zealand Warriors will face a tough test against a resurgent Sydney Roosters outfit.
The Warriors have won their first three games of the season for the first time but will need to step up a level to topple a Roosters side that is finding its groove after big wins over the Bulldogs and Knights.
Sydney Roosters v New Zealand Warriors, 5.30pm Saturday at Allianz Stadium
Key match-up: Cronk appeared to have found his groove last weekend and he will square off against former Melbourne Storm halves partner Blake Green on Saturday. Whoever can control field position for their side will go a long way to winning this one.
For the Roosters to win: They must control the ruck speed. Canberra found out the hard way last week that if the Warriors' big men get their tails up they're hard to stop.
For the Warriors to win: More of the same on their goal line. Roger Tuivasa Sheck has pulled off three contenders for try-saver of the year already this season and his side will need to follow his lead defensively to hold the Sydneysiders out.
Roosters Stat Attack: The boys from Bondi controlled field position last week, finishing with 463 total kickmetres and three forceddrop outs.
Warriors Stat Attack: Talk about impact off the bench – Bunty Afoa finished with 167 metres and 37 tackles and Jazz Tevaga 133 metres to go with his 36 tackles against the Raiders last week.
And another thing: At some point, the travel factor has to kick in for the Warriors. Perth to Auckland to Canberra and now Sydney in just four weeks has to take its toll physically.
Prediction: Roosters by 10
Roosters: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Reece Robinson, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 Joseph Manu, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Cooper Cronk, 8 Sio Siua Taukeiaho, 9 Jake Friend (c), 10 Dylan Napa, 11 Boyd Cordner (c), 12 Ryan Matterson, 13 Isaac Liu
Interchange: 14 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 15 Zane Tetevano, 16 Mitchell Aubusson, 17 Victor Radley
The Roosters are 1-17.
Warriors: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), 2 David Fusitua, 3 Peta Hiku, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Ken Maumalo, 6 Blake Green, 18 Mason Lino, 17 Bunty Afoa, 9 Issac Luke, 10 Agnatius Paasi, 11 Leivaha Pulu, 12 Tohu Harris, 13 Adam Blair
Interchange: 14 Jazz Tevaga, 15 Ligi Sao, 16 Tevita Satae, 20 Anthony Gelling
Reserves: 18 Mason Lino, 20 Anthony Gelling, 21 Albert Vete
Shaun Johnson and James Gavet are out for the Warriors, with Mason Lino in at halfback, Bunty Afoa starting at prop and Anthony Gelling joining the bench.
Match: Roosters v Warriors
Round 4 -
Venue: Allianz Stadium
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
Head-to-head: 38 games, Warriors 21 wins, Roosters 16 wins, 1 draw
Matches at venue: Roosters 8 wins, Warriors 7 wins, 1 draw
Last five head-to-head: Warriors 3 wins, Roosters 2 wins
2017 result: Warriors won 14-13 at Mt Smart Stadium in round 9
Points per game: Roosters 25.3; Warriors 24
Points conceded per game: Roosters 10; Warriors 15.7
Televised: Live on Fox League