Two teams still licking their wounds from last week's results will be no doubt more than motivated to return to their winning ways on Saturday night when Easts and Canterbury clash at Bankwest Stadium - albeit without State of Origin representatives.
Recent History: Sydney Roosters vs Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Saturday night's clash will be the 186th between the two proud clubs and will be the second at Bankwest Stadium after a bruising 42-6 display from the Red, White and Blue in Round 5, 2020.
The Roosters have won 94 of the 185 matches against the Bulldogs since all the way back in 1935, with 86 losses and 5 draws, holding a 51% winning record against their western Sydney based opponents.
The Tricolours have also won the last seven contests between the two sides going back to 2016, with an average of 27 points scored in those matches and thirteen of the last sixteen matches going the way of the Red, White and Blue.
Both sides will be coming off disappointing losses in Round 16, so there will be plenty at stake when the two clash on Saturday night.
How They Line Up
Trent Robinson's side takes a vastly different shape to the one that took the field last week, highlighted by a number of returning players.
Joseph Manu will deputise at fullback with James Tedesco in Origin camp, while Billy Smith makes his NRL return in the centres with the rest of the backline comprising of Daniel Tupou, Josh Morris and Matt Ikuvalu.
Drew Hutchison reclaims his spot at five-eighth after making his return last week from the bench, pairing with Sam Walker in the halves.
Fullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Nick MeaneyFullback for Roosters is number 1 Joseph Manu
Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Corey AllanWinger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Will HopoateCentre for Roosters is number 3 Josh Morris
Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 Aaron SchouppCentre for Roosters is number 4 Billy Smith
Winger for Bulldogs is number 21 Falakiko ManuWinger for Roosters is number 5 Matt Ikuvalu
Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 19 Lachlan LewisFive-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Drew Hutchison
Halfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Jake AverilloHalfback for Roosters is number 7 Sam Walker
Prop for Bulldogs is number 8 Jack HetheringtonProp for Roosters is number 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Sione KatoaHooker for Roosters is number 9 Sam Verrills
Prop for Bulldogs is number 10 Luke ThompsonProp for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho
2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Corey Waddell2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Isaac Liu
2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 17 Renouf Atoni2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua
Lock for Bulldogs is number 13 Josh JacksonLock for Roosters is number 13 Victor Radley
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 12 Joe StimsonInterchange for Roosters is number 14 Lachlan Lam
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Bailey Biondi-OdoInterchange for Roosters is number 15 Egan Butcher
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Dylan NapaInterchange for Roosters is number 16 Nat Butcher
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Ofahiki OgdenInterchange for Roosters is number 17 Ben Thomas
Reserve for Bulldogs is number 20 Jackson TopineReserve for Roosters is number 18 Adam Keighran
- Referee: Adam Gee
- Touch Judge: Peter Gough
- Touch Judge: Dave Munro
- Senior Review Official: Jared Maxwell
Newly-appointed captain Jared Waerea-Hargreaves heads the forward pack alongside Sam Verrills and Siosiua Taukeiaho in the front row.
Isaac Liu starts in the back row in place of Angus Crichton - who is also in the Blues' State of Origin camp - alongside Sitili Tupouniua, with the returning Victor Radley rounding off the forward pack in the no.13 jersey.
The interchange bench named features Lachlan Lam, brothers Egan and Nat Butcher and front rower Ben Thomas, while Adam Keighran, Tuku Hau Tapuha, Naufahu Whyte and Joseph Suaalii have been named on the extended bench.
The Bulldogs will be boosted by the return of a number of players, including Corey Waddell, Sione Katoa, Aaron Schoupp and former Rooster Dylan Napa, while hooker Jeremy Marshall-King and back rower Matt Doorey miss out due to suspension and injury respectively.
Key Match Up: Sam Walker vs Jake Averillo
Two young breakout stars of season 2021 will be tasked with guiding their respective sides to victory as they take up the mantle as chief playmakers in this clash.
Sam Walker has had his share of trials and tribulations in his first season in the NRL but has certainly shown he is a star of the future; you only need to look at his man of the match performance on Anzac Day and his clutch field goal on the Gold Coast to see his temperament at the top-grade.
While the Bulldogs are languishing at the bottom of the ladder, there's no doubt that Jake Averillo has been a consistent force for the blue and white, providing plenty of x-factor in the unfamiliar role of halfback.
While Averillo has Walker for games played (14 to 10) and forced drop outs (6 to 2), Walker has proved himself as a young general of the Tricolours, outpointing his opponent on try assists (12 to 3) and tries scored (5 to 4).
There are plenty of similarities between the two rival no.7s this week; both born in the 21st century, both with an uncanny and unpredictable style of play and both able to handle the pressures of first-grade football, so be sure to keep an eye on this clash come Saturday night.
What They Said
“We’ve lost a couple of role models, those big players that have a lot to do with our team this year and we have to move on and move past that. It was all about rectifying that and continuing." - Front Rower Lindsay Collins
While both sides sit at very different positions on the ladder, there will be a similar motivation to take home the two competition points, with the Roosters looking to keep in touch with the top four, and the Bulldogs looking to uproot themselves from the bottom of the table.
As the Greater Sydney lockdown has been extended, the match will be played behind closed doors at Bankwest Stadium.
All tickets purchased for the game via Ticketek have been cancelled, with customers to receive communication directly from Ticketek in the coming days with information regarding refunds.
While there won't be any Red, White and Blue in the stadium, the boys will certainly be feeding off your support from home, on social media and from the couch on Saturday night!