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The Roosters Crow: Friday Night Fight at the Foot of the Mountains

The Sydney Roosters face a stern test this Friday night when they come up defending Premiers the Penrith Panthers in their own backyard - but the men from Bondi will be bolstered by the return of a cult hero.

Recent History: Sydney Roosters vs Penrith Panthers

The Roosters and Panthers meet for the second time this season in the 97th contest between the two clubs - with the Red, White and Blue holding the ledger with 56 wins.

In Round 11 the Panthers took the spoils 32-12, with the scoreline poorly reflecting the effort from Trent Robinson's men in what was a tireless effort which was highlighted by the NRL debut of Terrell May.

This time, however, the Roosters will be looking to even up the scoreline with a win in enemy territory and claim a victory in the NRL's Beanies for Brain Cancer Round

How They Line Up

A trio of forwards return from the sidelines, highlighted by lock Victor Radley who makes his first appearance since Magic Round six weeks ago, while the Butcher brothers in Egan and Nat have been named after completing their necessary Head Injury Assessment protocols.  

James Tedesco, Daniel Tupou, Angus Crichton and Lindsay Collins have all been named to back up from the second State of Origin match, while Connor Watson is set to play his 50th game in the Red, White and Blue from the interchange bench.

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan Edwards
    Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James Tedesco
  • Winger for Panthers is number 2 Taylan May
    Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
  • Centre for Panthers is number 3 Izack Tago
    Centre for Roosters is number 3 Billy Smith
  • Centre for Panthers is number 4 Stephen Crichton
    Centre for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua
  • Winger for Panthers is number 5 Brian To'o
    Winger for Roosters is number 5 Joseph Suaalii
  • Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Jarome Luai
    Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 4 Joseph Manu
  • Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan Cleary
    Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Sam Walker


  • Prop for Panthers is number 8 Moses Leota
    Prop for Roosters is number 8 Lindsay Collins
  • Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Apisai Koroisau
    Hooker for Roosters is number 6 Drew Hutchison
  • Prop for Panthers is number 10 James Fisher-Harris
    Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho
  • 2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Viliame Kikau
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Angus Crichton
  • 2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Liam Martin
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 16 Nat Butcher
  • Lock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah Yeo
    Lock for Roosters is number 13 Victor Radley


  • Interchange for Panthers is number 14 Mitch Kenny
    Interchange for Roosters is number 9 Sam Verrills
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 15 Scott Sorensen
    Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Connor Watson
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 16 Spencer Leniu
    Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Egan Butcher
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 17 Jaeman Salmon
    Interchange for Roosters is number 19 Daniel Suluka-Fifita


  • Replacement for Panthers is number 21 Sunia Turuva
    Replacement for Roosters is number 20 Adam Keighran

Match Officials

  • Referee: Gerard Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Wyatt Raymond
  • Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
  • Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein

Last updated:

Drew Hutchison will return to partner Sam Walker in the halves with Luke Keary absent, while Joseph Manu, Siosiua Taukeiaho and Sitili Tupouniua will also play following their representative round duties. 

The Panthers have been spoiled with a full-strength line up, which includes all seven of their Origin contingent named, although former Rooster Ivan Cleary has also named a number of fringe players capable of slotting in should he decide to rest his stars - so watch this space.

Robinson's MHF Connection

Key Match Up: James Tedesco vs Nathan Cleary

Six days after dismantling Queensland together in Perth, James Tedesco and Nathan Cleary will go head-to-head in order to stake their claim as the game's best player on Friday night.

They might wear different numbers on the field, but there's no doubt that these two are the lynchpins for their respective sides; both have claimed the coveted Dally M Medal as Player of the Year and are the focal points for the Roosters and Panthers. 

Tedesco has dominated with his trademark running game, scoring eight tries and breaking the line ten times, coupled with five try assists and four linebreaks, stepping up in the absence of Luke Keary and Sam Verrills in the playmaking department.

His opponent in Cleary has continued his form which led the Panthers to the Premiership with twelve try assists and forced drop outs, while he has found himself on the scoresheet twice while breaking the line on three occasions. 

In what is expected to be a fiery clash between two passionate sides, look no further than the two maestros to lead their side around the park and dictate the outcome of this Friday night blockbuster. 

What They Said

“I can’t wait to come up against Penrith. They’re playing really good footy at the moment and it’s a good test for us." - Sam Verrills

“They do a great job of staying in the game for the whole 80 minutes and I guess that’s why they’re so consistent every week. I’m looking forward to it." - Connor Watson

“You want to play against the best and they have probably the most in-form halves pairing in the comp at the moment.” - Sam Walker

Verrills: "We Can't Wait to Test Ourselves on Friday Night"

Final Verdict

The Roosters will be hoping to head into the bye on a winning note and break a three-match losing streak when they face the toughest test in the NRL - but you can ensure that Trent Robinson will have his men primed for a big performance. 

Roosters Members and supporters will be treated to a triple-header out at BlueBet Stadium, with the Roosters Jersey Flegg and North Sydney Bears NSW Cup sides playing prior to kick-off, so get your tickets here and head in early to cheer on the future Roosters!

You can also support the Mark Hughes Foundation and their fight against brain cancer by purchasing a beanie in the NRL's Beanies for Brain Cancer Round!

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.

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