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The Roosters Crow: Saturday Night Dogfight

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.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Nick Meaney
    Fullback for Roosters is number 1 Joseph Manu
  • Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Corey Allan
    Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
  • Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Will Hopoate
    Centre for Roosters is number 3 Josh Morris
  • Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 Aaron Schoupp
    Centre for Roosters is number 4 Billy Smith
  • Winger for Bulldogs is number 21 Falakiko Manu
    Winger for Roosters is number 5 Matt Ikuvalu
  • Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 19 Lachlan Lewis
    Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Drew Hutchison
  • Halfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Jake Averillo
    Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Sam Walker

Forwards

  • Prop for Bulldogs is number 8 Jack Hetherington
    Prop for Roosters is number 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
  • Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Sione Katoa
    Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Sam Verrills
  • Prop for Bulldogs is number 10 Luke Thompson
    Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho
  • 2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Corey Waddell
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Isaac Liu
  • 2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 17 Renouf Atoni
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua
  • Lock for Bulldogs is number 13 Josh Jackson
    Lock for Roosters is number 13 Victor Radley

Interchange

  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 12 Joe Stimson
    Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Lachlan Lam
  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Bailey Biondi-Odo
    Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Egan Butcher
  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Dylan Napa
    Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Nat Butcher
  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Ofahiki Ogden
    Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Ben Thomas

Reserves

  • Reserve for Bulldogs is number 20 Jackson Topine
    Reserve for Roosters is number 18 Adam Keighran

Match Officials

  • Referee: Adam Gee
  • Touch Judge: Peter Gough
  • Touch Judge: Dave Munro
  • Senior Review Official: Jared Maxwell

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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 come in today ready to train so we still have a lot to prove and definitely have a lot of confidence in training and playing this weekend.

“The energy, the toughness and the strength he (Radley) brings – the boys will be stoked to have him back this week. We can’t wait to go out there and play on the weekend." - Winger Daniel Tupou

“It was a bit of a mid-season camp where we had to assess things and see how we’re tracking along, it was pretty insightful.

“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

Your Verdict

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!