As the Sydney Roosters head up to Gosford to take on the Canberra Raiders in the NRL's Indigenous Round, you can expect plenty of fireworks on Saturday night at Central Coast Stadium with the season's halfway mark drawing ever closer.
Recent History: Sydney Roosters vs Canberra Raiders
The Sydney Roosters and Canberra Raiders will face off for the 68th time since the Raiders entered the competition in 1982, with the Roosters holding a 55% winning record with 37 wins and 30 losses.
Four of the last six matches have gone the way of the Tricolours, including the memorable 2019 Grand Final triumph, while the last ten results have been split down the middle with five wins apiece.
Saturday night's clash will also mark the 17th time the boys from Bondi head up to Gosford and will be looking to continue their strong recent form at Central Coast Stadium having won two of their last three matches at the venue, including last year's 18-10 win over the Warriors in Round 11.
The Roosters will be aiming to bounce back with a win in Round 12, while the Raiders will be looking to get their season back on track after losing five of their last six matches.
How They Line Up
There have been a couple of changes to Trent Robinson's line up following the side's Round 11 match.
Captain James Tedesco once again takes his mantle at fullback, with Josh Morris returning in the centres alongside Joseph Manu. Daniel Tupou and Matt Ikuvalu have been named on the wing once again.
Eastern Suburbs junior Lachlan Lam lines up alongside Sam Walker in the halves, while Siosiua Taukeiaho, Ben Marschke and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves pack down at the front of the scrum.
Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James TedescoFullback for Raiders is number 1 Caleb Aekins
Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel TupouWinger for Raiders is number 2 Bailey Simonsson
Centre for Roosters is number 3 Josh MorrisCentre for Raiders is number 3 Sebastian Kris
Centre for Roosters is number 21 Joseph SuaaliiCentre for Raiders is number 4 Curtis Scott
Winger for Roosters is number 5 Matt IkuvaluWinger for Raiders is number 5 Jordan Rapana
Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 4 Joseph ManuFive-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack Wighton
Halfback for Roosters is number 6 Lachlan LamHalfback for Raiders is number 7 Sam Williams
Prop for Roosters is number 8 Jared Waerea-HargreavesProp for Raiders is number 8 Dunamis Lui
Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Ben MarschkeHooker for Raiders is number 14 Josh Hodgson
Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua TaukeiahoProp for Raiders is number 10 Emre Guler
2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Corey Harawira-Naera
2nd Row for Roosters is number 15 Nat Butcher2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead
Lock for Roosters is number 13 Isaac LiuLock for Raiders is number 13 Ryan Sutton
Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Adam KeighranInterchange for Raiders is number 9 Tom Starling
Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Daniel Suluka-FifitaInterchange for Raiders is number 15 Iosia Soliola
Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Fletcher BakerInterchange for Raiders is number 16 Corey Horsburgh
Interchange for Roosters is number 20 Egan ButcherInterchange for Raiders is number 17 Ryan James
Reserve for Roosters is number 7 Sam WalkerReserve for Raiders is number 18 Elijah Anderson
- Referee: Grant Atkins
- Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
- Touch Judge: Liam Kennedy
- Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein
Angus Crichton and Sitili Tupouniua have been named in the second row, while Isaac Liu takes his place in the no.13 jersey with Victor Radley serving a suspension. Following Tuesday night's Judiciary results, Crichton will also miss the match through suspension, with a replacement yet to be announced.
Adam Keighran, Nat Butcher, Daniel Suluka-Fifita and Fletcher Baker make up the interchange bench, while Tuku Hau Tapuha, Naufahu Whyte, Egan Butcher and Joseph Suaalii round off the extended bench.
The Raiders welcome back spine duo Jack Wighton and Josh Hodgson back from suspension in what will be a big boost to their line up, while captain Jarrod Croker and front rower Josh Papalii remain on the sidelines through injury and suspension.
Key Matchup: Jared Waerea-Hargreaves vs Ryan James
With both sides missing experience and firepower in their forward pack, two of their most experienced campaigners in the competition will need to step up and dominate in the middle of the field to lead their side to victory.
Having spent the majority of the season as a bench impact player, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has made a successful impact in the starting line up in the last few weeks, while Ryan James has done the opposite, reverting back to the interchange after holding a starting position for the Raiders to start the season.
Similar in age and experience, with 31-year-old Waerea-Hargreaves coming up against 29-year-old James, the Roosters' front row firebrand leads his opponent in average hit-ups (11.6 vs 7.7) and average running metres (136 vs 77).
James - who will undoubtedly be fired up in Indigenous Round - pips JWH in tackle efficiency with 91.7% to 90.4%, but it is important to note that Waerea-Hargreaves averages 12 more minutes than his opponent across 2021 games played so far.
With both sides determined to bring home the two competition points on the road, you can bet that these two colossal figures will have plenty to say throughout the match.
What They Said
"They’ve shown that a few times this year and we can’t take them lightly and I know Ricky (Stuart) is going to have them fired up for a Grand Final rematch and what-not so we know it’s going to be a tough test for us."
- James Tedesco on coming up against the Raiders
- Joseph Manu on the importance of Indigenous Round
- Nat Butcher on playing at Central Coast Stadium
With both sides welcoming back experience and still missing a number of key players, there will be plenty of eyes to see who steps up for the Roosters and Radiers. Even so, you can bet that it will be yet another classic between the two rivals on Saturday night.
Make sure you grab your tickets here, and if you can't make the game be sure to head down to Artie's Sports Bar at easts to watch the boys in Red, White and Blue as they look to celebrate Indigenous Round with a victory!
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