The stage is set for the Sydney Roosters this Sunday afternoon as they take on Premiership contenders the Parramatta Eels in what is bound to be a spellbinding Magic Round contest.
Recent History: Sydney Roosters vs Parramatta Eels
Whilst not arch-rivals by any stretch of the imagination, the Roosters and Eels have done battle for over 70 years, with 135 matches played between the two clubs since 1947.
Easts hold a narrow lead when it comes to winning percentage, taking the two competition points on 67 occasions, while the Eels have won 63 contests with five draws in between.
Four of the last five games have been won by the Roosters, who also took out a dominant 28-nil victory in their last meeting in late 2021 - while both sides will be aiming to capitalise on their big victories last week.
Trent Robinson's men broke a two-match losing streak with a dominant 44-16 win over the Gold Coast Titans to cap off a great week away in Mackay, while Parramatta stunned the competition to hand Penrith their first loss of the season in a tense 22-20 victory.
How They Line Up
Head Coach Trent Robinson has made some minor changes to the line up this week, with Lindsay Collins and Sam Verrills coming out of the side this week.
The absence of Collins sees Siosiua Taukeiaho promoted to the starting side, while the returning Connor Watson slots straight into the No.9 jumper vacated by Verrills.
Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James TedescoFullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton Gutherson
Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel TupouWinger for Eels is number 2 Hayze Perham
Centre for Roosters is number 3 Paul MomirovskiCentre for Eels is number 3 Will Penisini
Centre for Roosters is number 4 Joseph ManuCentre for Eels is number 4 Tom Opacic
Winger for Roosters is number 5 Joseph SuaaliiWinger for Eels is number 5 Bailey Simonsson
Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Sam WalkerFive-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Dylan Brown
Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Luke KearyHalfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell Moses
Prop for Roosters is number 8 Jared Waerea-HargreavesProp for Eels is number 8 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
Hooker for Roosters is number 14 Drew HutchisonHooker for Eels is number 9 Reed Mahoney
Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua TaukeiahoProp for Eels is number 10 Junior Paulo
2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Angus Crichton2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Shaun Lane
2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Isaiah Papali'i
Lock for Roosters is number 13 Victor RadleyLock for Eels is number 13 Nathan Brown
Interchange for Roosters is number 9 Connor WatsonInterchange for Eels is number 14 Makahesi Makatoa
Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Fletcher BakerInterchange for Eels is number 15 Ryan Matterson
Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Nat ButcherInterchange for Eels is number 16 Oregon Kaufusi
Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Daniel Suluka-FifitaInterchange for Eels is number 17 Bryce Cartwright
Replacement for Roosters is number 19 Lachlan LamReplacement for Eels is number 19 Jake Arthur
- Referee: Adam Gee
- Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
- Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
- Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein
The remainder of the team is unchanged, with James Tedesco captaining the team at fullback, Joseph Suaalii will line up alongside Daniel Tupou on the flanks, while Paul Momirovski and Joey Manu will again make up the centre pairing.
Sam Walker and Luke Keary will continue to line up in the No.6 and No.7 jerseys respectively after strong outings against the Gold Coast last week.
Taukeiaho, Watson and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves line up in the front row, while the starting side is rounded off with Angus Crichton, Sitili Tupouniua and Victor Radley in the back row.
Drew Hutchison, Fletcher Baker, Nat Butcher and Daniel Suluka-Fifita make up the interchange bench, with Lachlan Lam named at 18th man.
Naufahu Whyte, Ben Marschke, Ben Thomas, Kevin Naiqama, Adam Keighran and Tuku Hau Tapuha make up this week's extended bench.
Eels coach Brad Arthur has named the same line up that took down the Panthers in Penrith, which features notable names such as Clint Gutherson, Mitch Moses, Junior Paulo and former Rooster Ryan Matterson.
Players and Fans Come Together at Mackay Open Training Session!
Key Match Up: James Tedesco vs Clint Gutherson
You won't have to trawl through the teamlists for long to find this week's match up between the two captains and fullbacks James Tedesco and Clint Gutherson.
Both custodians are as imperative for their team's prowess as one another and have plenty of tricks up their sleeves as evidenced by their performances in 2022 so far.
Tedesco has been arguably the Roosters' best player this season, as is coming off another stellar performance which saw him notch his 100th NRL try with a hat-trick as well as 226 running metres, two line breaks and a linebreak assist.
The two-time Premiership winner and NSW Captain will be looking for a big performance as he takes the field for the Red, White and Blue for the 100th time in yet another personal milestone.
The same could be said for his opposite Clint Gutherson, who helped to halt the defending Premiers' winning streak with an imperative try, a line break, a line break assist, a try assist and 146 running metres to boot.
Suncorp Stadium will be abuzz all weekend, so expect these two performers to step up for their team and be at their scintillating best on Sunday afternoon.
What They Said
“It’s (Magic Round) really cool. Wherever you walk you see footballers or fans, they really turn it on. As a footballer, you love running out to a packed house and that’s what it’s going to be on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for Magic Round." - Sam Walker
Sunday afternoon will be a true test to see where the Roosters are at nearly halfway through the 2022 season - and what better way for them to test themselves than against a fellow contender in the Eels?
If you haven't already gotten yourself a seat to this year's Magic Round at Suncorp Stadium, you can still snap up a spot here, but be quick as tickets are running out quickly!
The game will also be broadcast on both Channel 9 and Foxtel, and can be streamed via Kayo - so be sure to cheer on the Red, White and Blue at 4:05pm this Sunday no matter where you are!