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The Roosters Crow: Sunday Celebrations

Both the Sydney Roosters and New Zealand Warriors will be celebrating the 2002 Grand Final in what is bound to be an emotionally-charged match on Easter Sunday. 

Recent History: Sydney Roosters vs New Zealand Warriors 

The Roosters and Warriors share a unique history that has spanned 27 years, which includes a couple of enthralling finals clashes highlighted by the 2002 Grand Final which both sides will celebrate on Sunday afternoon two decades after the fact. 

Both sides have traded four-match winning streaks over one another in the last eight clashes, with the Roosters undefeated since early 2018, averaging 31 points for and just seven against.

Easts celebrated their fortnight in Queensland with two comprehensive wins over North Queensland (28-4) and Brisbane (24-20), while their opponents are on a high after a Golden Point win over the Cowboys which finds them on the back of a three-match winning streak. 

The last three contests have seen the Red, White and Blue come away with the two competitions at the hallowed Sydney Cricket Ground which could be an omen for Sunday.  

How They Line Up

Roosters Head Coach Trent Robinson has listed a similar squad to the one that overcame the Broncos last week.

The big news comes in the form of Sam Verrills and Siosiua Taukeiaho, who have both been named to return after not featuring last week.

Connor Watson shuffles back to the bench, with Fletcher Baker also named after a strong showing at Suncorp Stadium. The remainder of the side is unchanged, with James Tedesco captaining the team at fullback.

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James Tedesco
    Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Reece Walsh
  • Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
    Winger for Warriors is number 2 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
  • Centre for Roosters is number 4 Joseph Manu
    Centre for Warriors is number 3 Jesse Arthars
  • Centre for Roosters is number 5 Kevin Naiqama
    Centre for Warriors is number 4 Adam Pompey
  • Winger for Roosters is number 23 Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii
    Winger for Warriors is number 5 Edward Kosi
  • Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Sam Walker
    Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Chanel Harris-Tavita
  • Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Luke Keary
    Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Shaun Johnson


  • Prop for Roosters is number 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
    Prop for Warriors is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
  • Hooker for Roosters is number 24 Drew Hutchison
    Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde Egan
  • Prop for Roosters is number 10 Lindsay Collins
    Prop for Warriors is number 16 Aaron Pene
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua
    2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Euan Aitken
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 16 Angus Crichton
    2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Bayley Sironen
  • Lock for Roosters is number 13 Victor Radley
    Lock for Warriors is number 13 Josh Curran


  • Interchange for Roosters is number 9 Sam Verrills
    Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Kodi Nikorima
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 11 Nat Butcher
    Interchange for Warriors is number 15 Bunty Afoa
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Fletcher Baker
    Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Eliesa Katoa
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 22 Daniel Suluka-Fifita
    Interchange for Warriors is number 18 Taniela Otukolo


  • Replacement for Roosters is number 18 Lachlan Lam
    Replacement for Warriors is number 25 Valingi Kepu

Match Officials

  • Referee: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
  • Touch Judge: Dave Munro
  • Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
  • Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall

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Kevin Naiqama has retained his place on the wing and will again line up alongside Daniel Tupou. Paul Momirovski and Joey Manu will again make up the centre pairing.

Sam Walker and Luke Keary will continue to build their combination in the halves, with Keary set to play his 100th game for the Club.

Lindsay Collins, Verrills and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves line up in the front row, with the starting side is rounded off with Nat Butcher, Sitili Tupouniua and Victor Radley in the back row.

Watson, Baker, Angus Crichton and Taukeiaho make up the interchange bench, with Lachlan Lam named at 18th man.

Naufahu Whyte, Adam Keighran, Renouf Atoni, Daniel Suluka-Fifita, Joseph Suaalii and Drew Hutchison make up this week's extended bench.

The Warriors have made few changes to the side that beat the Cowboys last week, with Jack Murchie replaced by Eliesa Katoa, while Dallin Watene-Zelezniak comes onto the wing in a side that features the likes of Reece Walsh, Addin Fonua-Blake and Shaun Johnson.

2002 Grand Final Highlights: Roosters vs Warriors

Key Match Up: Luke Keary vs Shaun Johnson

Two veteran playmakers come head-to-head this weekend, much like Brad Fittler and Stacey Jones did in the 2002 decider.

While Jones is remembered for his scintillating solo try, Fittler was instrumental with a 40/20 and multiple try assists after succumbing to a nasty hit that galvanized his teammates to power through to victory. 

In 2022, Luke Keary and Shaun Johnson now stand as two key men for their respective sides, and are two of the best halfbacks in the NRL in their own right. 

Keary will reach another personal milestone as he makes his 100th appearance in Red, White and Blue, which has seen him hold the Premiership trophy aloft twice and claim the coveted Clive Churchill Medal in a stellar career at Bondi so far. 

The mercurial no.7 has bounced back from his ACL injury in style, notching up four try assists, two linebreak assists while forcing two line drop outs in his side's first five matches. 

Johnson has also made a return of sorts following a three-year stint at Cronulla to guide the Warriors to a three-two start on the back of his three try assists, four linebreak assists and three drop outs. 

Which of these two halves will pull through and provide the heroics on Sunday afternoon? We'll just have to wait and see.  

What They Said

"We’re wearing a new jersey with a collar and I love playing in different jerseys and that kind of stuff so I’m excited to pull that on and represent those boys." - Angus Crichton

"I think it’s definitely a good day for the Club to represent that 20-year anniversary and I know the boys are looking forward to it" - Drew Hutchison

Final Verdict 

While there are plenty of celebrations to be had on Sunday afternoon, there's still an all-important match of Rugby League to be played between two in-form sides that will be determined more than ever in continuing their winning run. 

The Red, White and Blue will not only want to commemorate the heroics of 2002, but also mark their return home at the SCG with a win as they celebrate Keary's century in the Tricolours.

Be sure to grab your tickets here, pre-order your 2022 Heritage Jersey here and cheer on the Red, White and Blue on Sunday afternoon!


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.