It's a Round 1 blockbuster against the Sea Eagles this Saturday arvo, and both sides will be determined to make their first match of 2021 a victory at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground.
Recent History: Roosters vs Sea Eagles
This Saturday will be the 146th meeting between the Tricolours and silvertails and the first since 1987 that the sides go head-to-head on the hallowed SCG turf.
While Manly got away with a close 9-8 victory in our only meeting during the turbulent 2020 season, the mighty Roosters have won the previous three encounters, including a 56-24 thumping in Round 19, 2018.
Our recent record at the SCG should fill Roosters Members and fans with confidence as the Red, White and Blue have come out victorious on 14 of the last 18 occasions.
With a number of important changes made to both lineups for this Round 1 clash, recent history will have very little to do with the outcome on Saturday afternoon.
How They Line Up
The Roosters will boast a star-studded backline headed by James Tedesco, while the exciting new combination between Lachlan Lam and Luke Keary in the halves will be on show for the first time.
The most notable move comes as Queensland representative forward Lindsay Collins earns a starting berth, while Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Angus Crichton and Jake Friend compliment a strong forward pack.
A versatile and powerful bench in Adam Keighran, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Nat Butcher and Daniel Suluka-Fifita rounds off a solid Roosters line up.
Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James TedescoFullback for Sea Eagles is number 1 Dylan Walker
Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel TupouWinger for Sea Eagles is number 2 Jason Saab
Centre for Roosters is number 3 Josh MorrisCentre for Sea Eagles is number 3 Brad Parker
Centre for Roosters is number 4 Joseph ManuCentre for Sea Eagles is number 4 Moses Suli
Winger for Roosters is number 5 Brett MorrisWinger for Sea Eagles is number 5 Reuben Garrick
Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Lachlan LamFive-Eighth for Sea Eagles is number 6 Kieran Foran
Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Luke KearyHalfback for Sea Eagles is number 7 Daly Cherry-Evans
Prop for Roosters is number 8 Lindsay CollinsProp for Sea Eagles is number 8 Josh Aloiai
Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Jake FriendHooker for Sea Eagles is number 9 Lachlan Croker
Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua TaukeiahoProp for Sea Eagles is number 10 Martin Taupau
2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Angus Crichton2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 11 Jack Gosiewski
2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 12 Curtis Sironen
Lock for Roosters is number 13 Isaac LiuLock for Sea Eagles is number 13 Jake Trbojevic
Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Adam KeighranInterchange for Sea Eagles is number 14 Tevita Funa
Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Jared Waerea-HargreavesInterchange for Sea Eagles is number 15 Andrew Davey
Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Nat ButcherInterchange for Sea Eagles is number 16 Morgan Boyle
Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Daniel Suluka-FifitaInterchange for Sea Eagles is number 17 Taniela Paseka
- Referee: Chris Sutton
- Touch Judge: Matt Noyen
- Touch Judge: Nick Beashel
- Senior Review Official: Chris Butler
The biggest news for the Sea Eagles comes in the absence of fullback Tom Trbojevic, with Dylan Walker taking the mantle as custodian.
Manly's young backline is compounded by experienced halves Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans, while their forward pack features representative players in Martin Taupau, Josh Aloiai and Jake Trbojevic.
With plenty of big names on show, it's bound to be a competitive and entertaining 80 minutes to kick-start the season.
Key Matchup: Luke Keary vs Daly Cherry-Evans
Despite there being are a number of enticing match-ups across the park, it's hard to go past the battle between Luke Keary and Daly Cherry-Evans.
Keary moves to the no.7 jersey on a full-time basis next to Lachlan Lam at five-eighth, while Cherry-Evans will be reunited with his former partner in crime Kieran Foran.
Individually, both had strong seasons in 2020, with Keary edging his rival in tries scored (10 to 6) and Forced Drop Outs (18 to 11), while DCE was a nose ahead in Try Assists (20 to 18) and Linebreak Assists (17 to 13).
With a victory on the line, there will be plenty of eyes on the playmakers come 5:30pm on Saturday to see who comes on top.
What Our Boys Said
Fronting the media for the first time in 2021, the likes of Josh Morris, James Tedesco and Angus Crichton had plenty of insight to share ahead of the clash.
Morris - who previously played under Manly coach Des Hasler at Canterbury - expected the Round 1 clash at the Sydney Cricket Ground to be a blockbuster between the two rivals.
“You never know what you’re going to get with a Dessie coached football side,” he said.
“One thing about Dessie is that he loves being the underdog. They’ve got some quality players there – they’ve got DCE and Kieran (Foran) - and I think the whole side lifts when Tommy (Tom Trbojevic) is out as well.
Round 1 Media
“I don’t think their trial form is an indication of where they’ll be at. They’ve got some great players and I think it’ll be an interesting one."
Tedesco echoed his teammate's words, saying: “It’s a Round 1 battle, anything can happen, we haven’t really focused too much on them so far, it’s more about us and getting our best footy out on the weekend.
“We’ll be ready for a dog fight. It should be good and we’re excited.”
Wide-running backrower Crichton expressed his excitement for the clash, particularly with a new season dawning.
“I’ve trained really hard this pre-season and off-season and all the boys are looking in shape. The coaches are in good stead and everyone’s got a really clear focus and we’re in for a big year," he said.
“Manly are always a good side and playing at the SCG - it’s always iconic. You don’t have to look too far to see they’ve got some quality players in their side, so I’m looking forward to playing against them."
The Red, White and Blue will be primed to start their 2021 campaign with a victory, while Manly are always a danger, even with injuries playing their part, it's up to you to decide how the match will finish in our poll below.
Make sure you purchase your tickets and head on down to the SCG this Saturday to cheer on the mighty Roosters!