Friday night marks the 30th contest between the Roosters and Rabbitohs for the Ron Coote Cup, and the first time which these two teams clash in Brisbane in the 114 years of rivalry. Buckle up, because this is going to be one for the ages.
Recent History: Sydney Roosters vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Easts and Souths meet for the 248th time since the code's inaugural season in Australia - and history will beckon on Friday night as it will be the first top-level contest between the two foundation clubs outside of Sydney.
Friday night will mark the 30th Ron Coote Cup match, which has been contested in every regular-season match since 2007, with the clubs both tied on seven wins each. The Roosters will be able to claim the Cup with a victory of eleven points or more following the last meeting in Round 3.
The results of the last ten matches have also been equally balanced, with both sides claiming victory on five occasions each, while the Roosters have a superior record against the Rabbitohs since 2002, winning 26 out of 42 matches.
How They Line Up
The line up Trent Robinson has named features a number of changes to the side that defeated the St George Illawarra Dragons on Sunday afternoon. The Roosters have named one less player in the extended squad due to player unavailability.
James Tedesco leads the side as fullback and captain, with Daniel Tupou and Joseph Manu joined by new additions to the backline in Lachlan Lam and Brad Abbey - who will make his Club debut on the wing.
Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James TedescoFullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Latrell Mitchell
Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel TupouWinger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Alex Johnston
Centre for Roosters is number 3 Lachlan LamCentre for Rabbitohs is number 3 Dane Gagai
Centre for Roosters is number 4 Joseph ManuCentre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Campbell Graham
Winger for Roosters is number 5 Brad AbbeyWinger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Jaxson Paulo
Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Drew HutchisonFive-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody Walker
Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Sam WalkerHalfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Adam Reynolds
Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua TaukeiahoProp for Rabbitohs is number 8 Mark Nicholls
Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Sam VerrillsHooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien Cook
Prop for Roosters is number 16 Fletcher BakerProp for Rabbitohs is number 16 Tevita Tatola
2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Egan Butcher2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 Jaydn Su'A
2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 12 Jai Arrow
Lock for Roosters is number 13 Isaac LiuLock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Cameron Murray
Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Ben MarschkeInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 10 Thomas Burgess
Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Naufahu WhyteInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 14 Benji Marshall
Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Ben ThomasInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 15 Jacob Host
Interchange for Roosters is number 19 Tuku Hau TapuhaInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 18 Liam Knight
Reserve for Roosters is number 18 Moala Graham-TaufaReserve for Rabbitohs is number 19 Blake Taaffe
- Referee: Ashley Klein
- Touch Judge: Todd Smith
- Touch Judge: Jon Stone
- Senior Review Official: Henry Perenara
Drew Hutchison and Sam Walker - both try scorers in Sunday's win - will pair up in the halves, while Jared Waerea-Hargreaves heads the forward pack alongside Sam Verrills and Siosiua Taukeiaho in the front row.
The side is rounded off by Sitili Tupouniua and Egan Butcher earning his first starting role in the second row, while milestone man Isaac Liu locks up the scrum in what will be his 200th game for the Roosters.
The interchange bench features Ben Marschke, Naufahu Whyte, Fletcher Baker and Ben Thomas, while Moala Graham-Taufa, Tuku Hau Tapuha and Daniel Suluka-Fifita have been named on the extended bench.
South Sydney have a few changes to their line up, with Josh Mansour replaced by Jaxson Paulo, while Thomas Burgess reverts to the starting side after coming off the bench last week. Hooker Damien Cook could be in doubt with a quad strain.
Key Match Up: James Tedesco vs Latrell Mitchell
Just like last time, the two custodians come together to make our Key Match up.
Both started the season in strong form in the opening rounds before their first meeting in Round 3, but ever since the two have had differing journeys through season 2021.
Tedesco has taken up the captaincy full-time for the Roosters since the retirement of Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend and has thrived with the responsibility, guiding his side to the top four with 8 tries, 19 try assists, a whopping 124 tackle breaks and 14 linebreaks.
Latrell Mitchell has brought up similar numbers and has kicked on in form since starring alongside Tedesco in the NSW Blues' series win; showing similar numbers with 11 tries, 14 try assists, 86 tackle breaks and 16 linebreaks to his name.
These two superstar representative players will need to be on song for their respective sides to claim victory on Friday night, and will no doubt be the ones to watch.
What They Said
“It’s a huge game this weekend. It’ll go a long way into getting into the top four. It’s always going to be a big game no matter what the situation is between the Roosters and Rabbitohs." - Sam Verrills
“These are the games you really look forward to and the contest will be on, and we want to charge at it. We need to get the new combinations together and execute them well. We look forward to getting out there and resuming the long-standing history that we have with our neighbours.” - Trent Robinson
No matter where they are on the competition ladder or in the context of the season, battles between the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs always have weight to them - and Friday night will be no different.
The Red, White and Blue might be missing some troops, but the next-man-up mentality will certainly be in full swing as the Roosters take on their more fancied opponents.
For Roosters Members and fans in southeast Queensland, you can purchase your tickets here to cheer on your Roosters at Suncorp Stadium.