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The Roosters Crow: Battle of the Beaches

The season began with these two sides facing off at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Round 1, and Friday night will signal the end for one as we take on the Sea Eagles in an elimination final in what promises to be an absolute blockbuster in Mackay.

Recent History: Sydney Roosters vs Manly Warringah Sea Eagles

The Roosters and Sea Eagles meet for the 146th time since 1947 - the year Manly Warringah entered the competition - with the Roosters winning 53 contests with two drawn. 

Friday night will mark the first finals match between the two clubs since the 2013 Grand Final, which saw the Sydney Roosters claim a 26-18 victory to capture the Club's 13th Premiership.

The match will also mark the first meeting between the Roosters and Sea Eagles since Round 1, where the Tricolours made history with their biggest opening-round win since 1908 in the 46-4 win

Easts have won four of the last five contests, while the last ten matches have been split evenly with five wins apiece. 

It will be the third time in 2021 that the Roosters play at BB Print Stadium, following strong wins against both the Parramatta Eels in Round 20 and the Canberra Raiders in Round 25

How They Line Up

Trent Robinson's line up will take a similar shape to the one that defeated the Gold Coast Titans in week one of the finals, with two notable changes. 

Captain James Tedesco will once again lead the side at fullback, joined by 200-gamer Daniel Tupou, veteran Josh Morris, sharpshooting goal kicker Adam Keighran and try-scoring winger Matt Ikuvalu in the backline.

Drew Hutchison and Lachlan Lam continue their combination in the halves, while Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Isaac Liu line up in the front row.

Hooker Sam Verrills will serve a two-match suspension after unsuccessfully downgrading a Grade Two Careless High Tackle charge at the NRL Judiciary, with Ben Marschke taking his spot in the starting side. 

The forward pack rounds off with Angus Crichton and Sitili Tupouniua in the second row, while Victor Radley locks up the scrum in the no.13 jersey.

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Sea Eagles is number 1 Tom Trbojevic
    Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James Tedesco
  • Winger for Sea Eagles is number 2 Jason Saab
    Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
  • Centre for Sea Eagles is number 3 Brad Parker
    Centre for Roosters is number 3 Josh Morris
  • Centre for Sea Eagles is number 4 Morgan Harper
    Centre for Roosters is number 4 Adam Keighran
  • Winger for Sea Eagles is number 5 Reuben Garrick
    Winger for Roosters is number 5 Matt Ikuvalu
  • Five-Eighth for Sea Eagles is number 6 Kieran Foran
    Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Lachlan Lam
  • Halfback for Sea Eagles is number 7 Daly Cherry-Evans
    Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Drew Hutchison


  • Prop for Sea Eagles is number 8 Josh Aloiai
    Prop for Roosters is number 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
  • Hooker for Sea Eagles is number 9 Lachlan Croker
    Hooker for Roosters is number 20 Ben Marschke
  • Prop for Sea Eagles is number 16 Sean Keppie
    Prop for Roosters is number 10 Isaac Liu
  • 2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 11 Haumole Olakau'atu
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Angus Crichton
  • 2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 12 Josh Schuster
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua
  • Lock for Sea Eagles is number 13 Jake Trbojevic
    Lock for Roosters is number 13 Victor Radley


  • Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 10 Martin Taupau
    Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Sam Walker
  • Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 14 Dylan Walker
    Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Nat Butcher
  • Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 15 Karl Lawton
    Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Egan Butcher
  • Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 17 Taniela Paseka
    Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Fletcher Baker


  • Reserve for Sea Eagles is number 19 Moses Suli
    Reserve for Roosters is number 18 Dale Copley

Match Officials

  • Referee: Gerard Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Dave Munro
  • Touch Judge: Todd Smith
  • Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein

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Sam Walker, the returning Nat Butcher, Egan Butcher and Fletcher Baker make up the interchange bench, while the extended bench comprises of Dale Copley and Naufahu Whyte 24 hours prior. 

The Sea Eagles will welcome back hooker Lachlan Croker, who missed the Qualifying Final through injury,

Manly's noted danger men in Tom Trbojevic, Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran will have plenty of support across the field, with the likes of Martin Taupau, Jake Trbojevic, Jason Saab and Reuben Garrick playing pivotal roles through their season. 

Key Match Up: James Tedesco vs Tom Trbojevic 

Normally we like to keep things fresh and interesting when it comes to key match ups, but this one was all too good to pass up. 

Two of the most dominant fullbacks in the last few seasons of the competition will clash this Friday night, which is the match up everybody will be looking at come kick-off. 

Trbojevic has had a season to remember and leads a number of statistics in the competition, guiding the Sea Eagles to a top-four finish, while Tedesco's new captaincy role has propelled him to greater heights as a leader and talisman for the side. 

Tedesco has played more matches and leads his opponent in tackle breaks and running metres, while Trbojevic has supplied more tries and slightly edges out in tackle efficiency. 

The NSW Blues teammates combined to take the State of Origin shield home this year with record-breaking performances, and come Friday night they will be doing their best to send one another home in a sudden-death final. 

What They Said

"It’s not going to be easy but we’re looking forward to the challenge and a physical game there." - Isaac Liu

“There’s a bit to build on there but we’re happy to get through that and we’re looking to build on this weekend." - Lachlan Lam

“We continue to talk about the 80-minute performance, and we’re still searching for a total game” - Jared Waerea-Hargreaves

“I’ve taken a lot of learnings from these guys and tried to add my personality to it but I’m trying to lead by example and a lot of the guys have responded well." - James Tedesco

Your Verdict

Everything will be on the line this Friday night, and you can guarantee that both sides will be throwing everything including the kitchen sink at one another in what is set to be an absolute blockbuster in Mackay as the Roosters look to continue their Premiership aspirations. 

Tickets for the match have been sold outthose attending can get all the information they need here in the Game Plan, while those watching from home can do so on Channel Nine and Fox League (channel 502 on Foxtel), or streamed through Kayo.


Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.