The Sydney Roosters will find themselves in tropical north Queensland to kick-off their 2021 NRL Finals campaign, as they take on the Gold Coast Titans in a do-or-die battle on Saturday.
Recent History: Sydney Roosters vs Gold Coast Titans
Since 2007 the Roosters and Titans have played on 21 occasions, with the Red, White and Blue winning 13 of those contests with a 62% winning ratio against their opponents.
Recent form has been dominated by the Roosters, with the boys from Bondi winning the last seven matches going all the way back to 2016, and have also won nine of the last ten contests.
A Sam Walker field goal proved to be the difference in our last meeting with the Gold Coast in Round 14 as Jared Waerea-Hargreaves notched up his 250th NRL match with a victory in frantic circumstances.
Saturday's match will also be the second finals game between the Sydney Roosters and Gold Coast Titans, and the first since the 2010 Preliminary Final which saw the Tricolours qualify for the Grand Final with an emphatic 32-6 victory.
How They Line Up
Trent Robinson welcomes back hard-hitting forwards Victor Radley and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves to the line up, while a number of players named are set to embark on their first finals campaign in the NRL.
Captain James Tedesco lines up at fullback, with milestone man Daniel Tupou (who plays his 200th game), veteran centre Josh Morris, sharpshooter Adam Keighran and hulking winger Matt Ikuvalu comprising the backline.
Robinson has retained Drew Hutchison and Lachlan Lam as the halves pairing, while the front row welcomes the returning Waerea-Hargreaves, crafty hooker Sam Verrills as well as the hard-hitting Siosiua Taukeiaho in his 150th for the Club.
Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James TedescoFullback for Titans is number 1 Jayden Campbell
Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel TupouWinger for Titans is number 2 Phillip Sami
Centre for Roosters is number 3 Josh MorrisCentre for Titans is number 3 Brian Kelly
Centre for Roosters is number 4 Adam KeighranCentre for Titans is number 4 Patrick Herbert
Winger for Roosters is number 5 Matt IkuvaluWinger for Titans is number 5 Corey Thompson
Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Drew HutchisonFive-Eighth for Titans is number 6 Tyrone Peachey
Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Lachlan LamHalfback for Titans is number 7 Jamal Fogarty
Prop for Roosters is number 8 Jared Waerea-HargreavesProp for Titans is number 8 Jarrod Wallace
Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Sam VerrillsHooker for Titans is number 9 Mitch Rein
Prop for Roosters is number 15 Isaac LiuProp for Titans is number 10 Moeaki Fotuaika
2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Angus Crichton2nd Row for Titans is number 11 Kevin Proctor
2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua2nd Row for Titans is number 12 Beau Fermor
Lock for Roosters is number 13 Victor RadleyLock for Titans is number 13 Tino Fa'asuamaleaui
Interchange for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua TaukeiahoInterchange for Titans is number 14 Erin Clark
Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Sam WalkerInterchange for Titans is number 15 Sam Lisone
Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Egan ButcherInterchange for Titans is number 16 David Fifita
Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Fletcher BakerInterchange for Titans is number 17 Jaimin Jolliffe
Reserve for Roosters is number 18 Dale CopleyReserve for Titans is number 18 Sam McIntyre
- Referee: Adam Gee
- Touch Judge: Liam Kennedy
- Touch Judge: Chris Butler
- Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy
State of Origin back rower Angus Crichton pairs up with Sitili Tupouniua in the second row, while Eastern Suburbs junior Radley locks up the scrum.
Sam Walker resumes his role as utility on the interchange bench, joined by 201-game veteran Isaac Liu and finals debutants in Egan Butcher and Fletcher Baker.
Veteran outside back Dale Copley has been named as 18th man, joined by rookie trio Ben Thomas, Ben Marschke and Naufahu Whyte on the extended bench.
Titans captain Kevin Proctor returns to the line up after a week on the sidelines, while Tyrone Peachey remains at five-eighth alongside Jamal Fogarty.
David Fifita has been listed on the interchange bench, but could move into the starting side come kick-off. The rest of the Titans side remains unchanged from their 44-nil shutout of the New Zealand Warriors.
Round 14 Match Highlights: Roosters v Titans
Key Match Up: Victor Radley vs Tino Fa'asuamaleaui
Two of the most exciting, hard-hitting and colourful players in the competition face up against one another on Saturday night as Victor Radley and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui face off in the middle of the field.
Whenever he has been on the park in the Red, White and Blue, Radley has inflicted plenty of damage on opposition sides, whether it's his sleight of hand with the ball and charging runs or his bone-rattling hits in defence.
In his 14 games this season, he has broken the line 6 times while averaging 93 metres and has maintained an impressive 36 tackles per game with 92.3% efficiency. As a ballplayer, he has also racked up 2 try assists and 4 linebreak assists.
Meanwhile, Fa'asuamaleaui has arrived on the Gold Coast with similarly impressive numbers, averaging 135 metres and a 92.9% tackle efficiency in his 21 matches, while averaging seven fewer tackles.
Both equally important as one another for their respective teams, this match will be flush full of talent in the engine room, with Easts boasting the likes of Waerea-Hargreaves, milestone man Taukeiaho and Crichton, while the Titans have the likes of Origin representatives Fifita, Wallace and Fotuaika - but it could be the influence of these two dynamic locks that settles the score.
What They Said
“I’m just enjoying it. We’re sitting in fifth and it’s not impossible (to make the Grand Final). We’re confident in our ability and internally we know we can win the comp and we’re not here to make up numbers." - Josh Morris
“For me, I can’t wait to get out there on the weekend. I know as a Club we’re super excited and we’re up against an in-form team against the Titans so it’s going to be a really good finals game for us." - Sam Verrills
“If we put ourselves in a good position we can achieve that goal and we’re chipping away one game at a time. We’ve been put through a lot this year as a team, but we’ve always found a way to bounce back." - Daniel Tupou
Everything is on the line in this elimination final against the finals newbies in the Gold Coast Titans, but the battle-hardened Roosters have two special milestones to motivate them further.
The NRL finals are a whole new ball game, and the Tricolours will be looking to make a statement to the rest of the competition in what should be an epic encounter.