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The Roosters Crow: Final Round Stand Off

It might be the last round of the regular season, but there is still plenty to fight for in this encounter against the Canberra Raiders with the finals right around the corner. 

Recent History: Sydney Roosters vs Canberra Raiders

The two sides meet for the 69th time on Thursday night, since 1982 - the year Canberra entered the competition - with the Tricolours holding a 56% winning record with 38 wins.

Five of the last seven matches have gone the way of Easts, while it will also be the second time the sides face off in Queensland after the 30-24 victory in Brisbane for Magic Round in 2019.

The Roosters took victory last in a mammoth 44-16 victory on the Central Coast in Round 12, which saw Egan Butcher make his NRL debut, while young duo Joseph Suaalii and Lachlan Lam bagged their first tries in their NRL careers. 

With a victory, the Red, White and Blue will claim consecutive victories over Canberra for the first time since 2019 - and we all know how that season ended. 

How They Line Up

Captain James Tedesco and Daniel Tupou will be joined by returning trio Josh Morris, Adam Keighran and Matt Ikuvalu in the backline - with Morris returning after announcing his retirement at the conclusion of the 2021 season earlier in the week.

Five-eighth Drew Hutchison will be joined by Lachlan Lam in the halves, while Jared Waerea-Hargreaves comes back to the side in the front row alongside last round tryscorer Sam Verrills and Siosiua Taukeiaho.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Raiders is number 1 Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
    Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James Tedesco
  • Winger for Raiders is number 2 Harley Smith-Shields
    Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
  • Centre for Raiders is number 4 Matthew Timoko
    Centre for Roosters is number 3 Josh Morris
  • Centre for Raiders is number 5 Jordan Rapana
    Centre for Roosters is number 4 Adam Keighran
  • Winger for Raiders is number 19 Semi Valemei
    Winger for Roosters is number 5 Matt Ikuvalu
  • Five-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack Wighton
    Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Drew Hutchison
  • Halfback for Raiders is number 7 Matt Frawley
    Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Lachlan Lam

Forwards

  • Prop for Raiders is number 8 Josh Papalii
    Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho
  • Hooker for Raiders is number 9 Josh Hodgson
    Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Sam Verrills
  • Prop for Raiders is number 10 Joseph Tapine
    Prop for Roosters is number 13 Isaac Liu
  • 2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Hudson Young
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Angus Crichton
  • 2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua
  • Lock for Raiders is number 13 Iosia Soliola
    Lock for Roosters is number 15 Egan Butcher

Interchange

  • Interchange for Raiders is number 14 Emre Guler
    Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Sam Walker
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 15 Ryan Sutton
    Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Ben Marschke
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 16 Corey Horsburgh
    Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Tuku Hau Tapuha
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 17 Siliva Havili
    Interchange for Roosters is number 26 Naufahu Whyte

Reserves

  • Reserve for Raiders is number 20 Elijah Anderson
    Reserve for Roosters is number 19 Brad Abbey

Match Officials

  • Referee: Gerard Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
  • Touch Judge: Todd Smith
  • Senior Review Official: Grant Atkins

Last updated:

Another familiar face to the forward pack comes in the form of Angus Crichton, with Sitili Tupouniua lining up next to him in the second row, while last week's milestone man Isaac Liu rounds off the side at lock.

The interchange bench features Sam Walker, Egan Butcher, Ben Marschke and Tuku Hau Tapuha, while Moala Graham-Taufa, Brad Abbey, Naufahu Whyte and Daniel Suluka-Fifita make up the extended bench. 

Canberra have made a few changes to their side, with former Rooster Iosia Soliola starting at lock in place of Ryan Sutton, who reverts to the bench. Charnze Nicholl-Klokstad makes his return to the starting fullback role, while experienced winger Jordan Rapana reverts to the wing in place of the injured Bailey Simonsson. 

Key Match Up: Drew Hutchison vs Jack Wighton

A player who few predicted would have such an impact on the Tricolours faces up against the reigning Dally M Medallist in what will be a running battle between two sizeable five-eighths.

Both players have displayed similar numbers throughout the season, with Hutchison playing three fewer games, keeping up with his opponent in Tries (3 to 5), Try Assists (6 to 9) and Line Break Assists (6 to 8).

Since relocating to Queensland, however, Hutchison has had the upper hand on his more fancied opposite, with as many Try Assists (5 each), more Linebreaks (3 to 0) and more wins (5 to 3). 

With one determined to continue his strong form as a newfound leader for the Roosters, and the other looking to recapture the form that saw him crowned the game's best player, be sure to keep an eye on both men wearing the no.6 jersey on Thursday night. 

What They Said

"We’ve got to win this week against Canberra and then whoever we have will be our next job. It doesn’t matter if we’re top four and we get a week off or not, we’ve just got to keep winning every week." - James Tedesco

"There have been some big battles and there’s no love lost there, but there’s a pure love for the game that builds respect between the two." - Trent Robinson

"Robbo has really harped on how we’ve got to bounce back and I think the short turnaround will be good for us. We’ll be getting back to playing some footy." - Drew Hutchison

Round 12 Match Highlights: Roosters v Raiders

Your Verdict

The Roosters will return to Mackay after shutting out the Parramatta Eels in Round 20 when they face the Raiders in a bid to claim a spot in the top four in what will be the final regular-season round before the NRL finals. 

There won't be any shortage of motivation for their opponents either as the Canberrans need a victory to vie for a spot in the finals. 

For those in and around Mackay, you can still cheer on your Roosters by purchasing tickets for the match here.