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Round 12 Match Preview: Honouring Artie on Bidjigal Land

The Sydney Roosters will travel to Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in Kogarah, home of the Bidjigal and Bediagal peoples, this Friday night to face the St George Illawarra Dragons for the second time in 2023.

Recent History: Sydney Roosters vs St George Illawarra Dragons

Indigenous Round marks the 49th time the Red, White and Blue have gone head-to-head with the Red V since 1998. The Roosters hold a slight advantage with 26 wins, having won nine of the last ten encounters between clubs.

The last time the two sides met was on Anzac Day this year, where Luke Keary kicked the match-winning field goal to claim the two competition points in front of a sell-out crowd at Allianz Stadium.

Both sides enter the match following lacklustre starts to the season and significant losses in Round 11. The Roosters have won five of ten matches, while the Dragons have secured two victories from ten games, so this week’s match is a must-win for both sides.

How They Line Up

Trent Robinson has made a number of changes to his line-up for Indigenous Round, with Egan Butcher and Drew Hutchison returning to the starting side.

Captain James Tedesco will lead the team from fullback. Corey Allan and Jaxson Paulo retain their place on the wings while Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii and Billy Smith will again feature in the centres.

Robinson has named a new halves pairing of Luke Keary and Drew Hutchison after Joseph Manu sustained an ankle injury in Round 11 against the Panthers.

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Brandon Smith and Lindsay Collins take their place in the front-row, while Sitili Tupouniua will start in the second row, alongside Egan Butcher and Victor Radley.

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Tyrell Sloan
    Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James Tedesco
  • Winger for Dragons is number 2 Mathew Feagai
    Winger for Roosters is number 2 Corey Allan
  • Centre for Dragons is number 3 Mosese Suli
    Centre for Roosters is number 3 Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii
  • Centre for Dragons is number 4 Zac Lomax
    Centre for Roosters is number 4 Billy Smith
  • Winger for Dragons is number 5 Mikaele Ravalawa
    Winger for Roosters is number 5 Jaxson Paulo
  • Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Talatau Amone
    Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Luke Keary
  • Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Ben Hunt
    Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Drew Hutchison


  • Prop for Dragons is number 8 Jack De Belin
    Prop for Roosters is number 10 Lindsay Collins
  • Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Jacob Liddle
    Hooker for Roosters is number 14 Jake Turpin
  • Prop for Dragons is number 10 Blake Lawrie
    Prop for Roosters is number 17 Matthew Lodge
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Jaydn Su'a
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Egan Butcher
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 16 Ben Murdoch-Masila
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua
  • Lock for Dragons is number 18 Francis Molo
    Lock for Roosters is number 13 Victor Radley


  • Interchange for Dragons is number 14 Jayden Sullivan
    Interchange for Roosters is number 9 Brandon Smith
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 15 Toby Couchman
    Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Nat Butcher
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 17 Josh Kerr
    Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Angus Crichton
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 20 Jaiyden Hunt
    Interchange for Roosters is number 20 Nathan Brown


  • Replacement for Dragons is number 19 Moses Mbye
    Replacement for Roosters is number 18 Sandon Smith

Match Officials

  • Referee: Peter Gough
  • Touch Judge: Jon Stone
  • Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
  • Senior Review Official: Chris Butler

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Jake Turpin, Nat Butcher, Angus Crichton and Matt Lodge make up the interchange bench, while Sandon Smith has been named as the 18th man.

The extended bench features Fletcher Baker, Nathan Brown, Junior Pauga and Terrell May.

Interim coach Ryan Carr welcomes back Zac Lomax and Jacob Liddle after the pair were dropped to reserve grade under previous coach Anthony Griffin. Their inclusion sees Jayden Sullivan shuffle back to the interchange bench, with Moses Mybe on the extended bench.

Key Match Up: Egan Butcher vs Jack Bird

With the Roosters proudly donning the 2023 Artie Beetson jersey to honour the late Immortal, it’s only fitting that the match-up between Egan Butcher and Jack Bird, the two who will wear jersey no.11, is highlighted this week.

At just 22 years of age, Egan Butcher has well and truly made his mark on the competition this year. The back-rower has scored one try, made two line-breaks and has offloaded the ball twice in his nine appearances.

His defence has been even more impressive, playing a key role in many of the Roosters’ wins this year. Partnering his brother Nat in the second row, Butcher has made a total of 345 tackles in 2023 and has a tackle efficiency rating of 93%.

His opposite, Bird, has been a mainstay in the Dragons’ side since joining the Club in 2021. This year the 28-year-old has cemented a starting spot in the second row, but has experience playing at centre, fullback and in the halves.  

Bird has also bagged one try this season and assisted with three others, averaging 104 run metres per match. In defence the back-rower has made a total of 323 tackles, missing 34, for a tackle efficiency rating of 90.5%

What They Said

“Artie is a big part of the Roosters and a big part of Indigenous culture as well, to get him back on the jersey is really special.” – Lindsay Collins

“To have Arthur Beetson on the jersey, the way he’s spoken about and held at this club is really special and to have the jersey designed by a member of his family is really special.” – Luke Keary

“We have such a proud Indigenous heritage at the Club, to wear the Arthur Beetson jersey this weekend is a real honour.” - Nat Butcher

Final Verdict

After falling short to the reigning Premiers last Friday evening, the Tricolours will be hungry to bounce back with a win and have more than enough motivation to represent Arthur Beetson, in what is one of the most celebrated rounds of the season.

For those looking to head to Netstrata Jubillee Stadium, be sure to grab your tickets here, gear up for Friday night football and cheer on the Red, White and Blue!

If you can’t make it to Kogarah, be sure to attend Easts Bondi Junction where you can watch the game live from Artie’s Bar while enjoying a match day meal.

It's not too late to Call yourself a Rooster in 2023! With our Central Coast match and six Sydney-based home games approaching, sign up now to receive exclusive updates, offers, and access to events*.

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.