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The Roosters Crow: Battle in the North

The Sydney Roosters continue their northward trajectory when they head up the M1 to face the Newcastle Knights in a Friday night showdown.

Recent History: Sydney Roosters vs Newcastle Knights

In the 35th year of contests between these two clubs, the Roosters hold the winning ledger with 36 wins out of 59, with a 61% winning record - which includes fourteen of the last seventeen matches. 

A number of memorable matches have been played between the Roosters and Knights, most notably the 2000 Preliminary Final which saw the Tricolours qualify for their first Grand Final in two decades, before doing the same in 2013 which saw Easts thump their opponents at the Sydney Football Stadium.

However, the Novocastrians have the upper hand this year after they pulled off an upset win in Round 1 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, so the men from Bondi will be looking to rectify that result and prove their growth over the course of the season.

How They Line Up

Two are in and three are out in Trent Robinson's line up this week.

Both Billy Smith and Sitili Tupouniua will be out of action for the remainder of the season after sustaining serious knee injuries in a blow for the Tricolours, with enforcer Siosiua Taukeiaho also omitted with a facial injury.

After multiple weeks on the sidelines, Luke Keary and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves are huge ins to the side, both providing plenty of experience and leadership in their respective positions.

Captain James Tedesco is joined by Daniel Tupou, Paul Momirovski, Joseph Manu and Joseph Suaalii in the backline, with Keary pairing with Sam Walker in the halves.

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
    Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James Tedesco
  • Winger for Knights is number 2 Edrick Lee
    Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
  • Centre for Knights is number 3 Dane Gagai
    Centre for Roosters is number 3 Paul Momirovski
  • Centre for Knights is number 4 Enari Tuala
    Centre for Roosters is number 16 Drew Hutchison
  • Winger for Knights is number 5 Hymel Hunt
    Winger for Roosters is number 5 Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii
  • Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Anthony Milford
    Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Luke Keary
  • Halfback for Knights is number 7 Adam Clune
    Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Sam Walker


  • Prop for Knights is number 8 David Klemmer
    Prop for Roosters is number 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
  • Hooker for Knights is number 9 Jayden Brailey
    Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Sam Verrills
  • Prop for Knights is number 10 Daniel Saifiti
    Prop for Roosters is number 10 Matthew Lodge
  • 2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Tyson Frizell
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Angus Crichton
  • 2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Nat Butcher
  • Lock for Knights is number 13 Mitchell Barnett
    Lock for Roosters is number 13 Victor Radley


  • Interchange for Knights is number 15 Jacob Saifiti
    Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Connor Watson
  • Interchange for Knights is number 16 Pasami Saulo
    Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Egan Butcher
  • Interchange for Knights is number 17 Brodie Jones
    Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Terrell May
  • Interchange for Knights is number 19 Phoenix Crossland
    Interchange for Roosters is number 20 Adam Keighran


  • Replacement for Knights is number 18 Leo Thompson
    Replacement for Roosters is number 19 Naufahu Whyte

Match Officials

  • Referee: Peter Gough
  • Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
  • Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
  • Senior Review Official: Grant Atkins

Last updated:

Waerea-Hargreaves comes straight into the starting side for Taukeiaho, with Matt Lodge promoted in place of Lindsay Collins, who continues to undergo the necessary HIA protocols. Sam Verrills retains the no.9 jersey after a strong outing against the Dragons. 

Meanwhile, Nat Butcher takes over the vacated second row spot, joining Angus Crichton and Victor Radley in rounding off the starting side.

The bench comprises Connor Watson, Egan Butcher, Drew Hutchison and Terrell May, while the extended squad features Lachlan Lam, Naufahu Whyte, Adam Keighran, Ben Thomas and Kevin Naiqama. 

Newcastle also have a number of changes from their squad that took the field last week; winger Dom Young has been named in the reserves with Hymel Hunt taking his spot, while utility Kurt Mann comes in after missing last week's match. 

Key Match Up: James Tedesco vs Kalyn Ponga 

The captains and fullbacks face off for the second time in two weeks following the deciding State of Origin match, and James Tedesco will be looking to return serve with a win at club level.

Kalyn Ponga got the last laugh in Brisbane as he helped Queensland lift the Origin shield with a stellar performance, and he has been just as influential for the Knights with four tries, six assists and as many linebreaks in his fourteen appearances in 2022.

Tedesco - arguably the Red, White and Blues' most consistent performer since his arrival in 2018 - has been just as pivotal for his side; scoring ten tries, assisting six while breaking the line on a dozen occasions in his sixteen games.

Victory for either team will be vital in their quest for a finals appearance, and with the season heating up in the final stretch, look no further than the two skippers to lead from the front. 

What They Said

“Teddy will be looking forward to the challenge this week and he’ll have to do a job against a really in-form fullback at the moment. We’ll have a game plan and we’ll definitely all need to be on our toes. I know the boys will be up for it." - Sam Walker

“Having that power and trying to dominate that middle of the field is a big part of our game and our style. Having them back will be big for us and will complement our style of footy." - Nat Butcher

"Every weekend we go in wanting to win and expecting to win. It’s easy to say that we haven’t looked at the table – we’re aware of our position and every game is going to count." - Drew Hutchison

Final Verdict 

The Sydney Roosters are in an interesting predicament; win and their finals dream continues, but lose and their season could be in jeopardy.

Newcastle are in a similar position and after two heavy defeats, will be determined to give their home fans a night to remember - so the men from Bondi will certainly need to build on last week's victory.

For those looking to make the trip up the M1 and cheer on the Red, White and Blue on Friday night, be sure to grab your tickets here and Call Yourself a Rooster with 2022 Membership.


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.