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Round 20 Match Preview: Homecoming on Hallowed Ground

The Sydney Roosters return to the Sydney Cricket Ground for the first time in 328 days to host the Melbourne Storm in a crucial Saturday night blockbuster.

Recent History: Sydney Roosters vs Melbourne Storm

Saturday marks the 47th encounter between the Roosters and Storm, with Melbourne claiming the two competition points in six of the last seven matches.

The Roosters will be looking to turn their fortunes with a win over the Storm after falling 28-8 at AAMI Park in Round 6 of the 2023 season. 

With a history full of SCG victories, the mighty Tricolours will look to build on their record at the venue, following 22 wins from 31 games between 2019 and 2022. 

Both sides enter the Round 20 clash after a bye, following disappointing losses in Round 18 with the Storm falling 34-16 to the Panthers, while the Roosters conceded a two-point loss to the Sea Eagles. 

How They Line Up

Trent Robinson welcomes a number of key players back to the line-up this week, including Brandon Smith, Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii, Billy Smith and Egan Butcher who have all recovered from their respective injuries.

James Tedesco will lead the side from fullback following State of Origin III, while Daniel Tupou and Suaalii have been named on the wings. Billy Smith and Joseph Manu make up the centres.

Luke Keary and Sandon Smith will be Saturday’s halves pairing, with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Turpin and Queensland Maroon’s prop Lindsay Collins in the front row.

The second-row features Victor Radley and Nat Butcher, with Nathan Brown completing the starting 13 at lock.

Brandon Smith will make his return from the interchange bench alongside Egan Butcher, while Siua Wong has been retained following his NRL debut in Round 18.

Naufahu Whyte completes the interchange bench, with Drew Hutchison, Terrell May, Corey Allan, Fetalaiga Pauga and Dylan Napa rounding out the squad on the extended bench.

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Roosters is number 4 Joseph Manu
    Fullback for Storm is number 1 Nick Meaney
  • Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
    Winger for Storm is number 2 Will Warbrick
  • Centre for Roosters is number 3 Billy Smith
    Centre for Storm is number 3 Reimis Smith
  • Centre for Roosters is number 5 Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii
    Centre for Storm is number 4 Justin Olam
  • Winger for Roosters is number 21 Fetalaiga Pauga
    Winger for Storm is number 5 Xavier Coates
  • Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Luke Keary
    Five-Eighth for Storm is number 6 Cameron Munster
  • Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Sandon Smith
    Halfback for Storm is number 7 Jahrome Hughes


  • Prop for Roosters is number 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
    Prop for Storm is number 8 Tui Kamikamica
  • Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Jake Turpin
    Hooker for Storm is number 9 Harry Grant
  • Prop for Roosters is number 10 Lindsay Collins
    Prop for Storm is number 10 Christian Welch
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Victor Radley
    2nd Row for Storm is number 11 Trent Loiero
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Nat Butcher
    2nd Row for Storm is number 12 Nelson Asofa-Solomona
  • Lock for Roosters is number 13 Nathan Brown
    Lock for Storm is number 13 Josh King


  • Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Brandon Smith
    Interchange for Storm is number 14 Tyran Wishart
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Egan Butcher
    Interchange for Storm is number 15 Tom Eisenhuth
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Siua Wong
    Interchange for Storm is number 16 Tariq Sims
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Naufahu Whyte
    Interchange for Storm is number 19 Alec MacDonald


  • Replacement for Storm is number 18 Grant Anderson
  • Reserve for Roosters is number 18 Drew Hutchison

Match Officials

  • Referee: Grant Atkins
  • Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
  • Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein

Last updated:

Storm Coach Craig Bellamy has named Harry Grant, Xavier Coates and Cameron Munster to back up from Origin III, while Will Warbrick has been included on the wing after suffering a concussion in Round 18.

Key Match Up: Joseph Manu v Justin Olam

*Written prior to the Squad Update

Recent recipients of the Dally M Centre of the Year awards go head-to-head on the edge this week when Joseph Manu faces Justin Olam.

Fresh off his 150 NRL game milestone, the New Zealand International and Golden Boot Winner has been dominant in the Roosters last three games, claiming four tries. 

In 2023, Manu's versatility has been tested with appearances at fullback, five-eighth and in the centres. But the 27-year-old's form has not wavered, recording an average of 139 run metres per match, as well as four line-breaks and 82 tackle breaks. 

His opposite celebrates his 100 game milestone this week after debuting for the Victorian-based Club in 2018. The Papua New Guinean International has been just as strong in 2023, recording an average of 124 run metres per match and scoring four tries. 

With plenty of mouth-watering match-ups on display across the field, be sure to keep your eyes on the battle of the damaging centres, who have the ability to lift their team in attack when times get tough. 

What They Said

"We’ve just got to string a good month or two of footy together. We need to get our best footy on, we need all of our players to play at their best and it has to happen soon." – Luke Keary

Keary: 'We've Got to String a Good Month Together'

"I pride myself on just being a team player and whatever the coach and the team needs I’m happy to do." – Jake Turpin

Final Verdict

As the race to finals continues to heat up, the Roosters need your support as they return to the SCG while the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup takes place at Allianz Stadium.

You can purchase your tickets for our Round 20 game here! If you can’t make it to the SCG, be sure to attend Easts Bondi Junction where you can watch the game live from Artie’s Bar. Easts are also running happy hour for two hours post-match

It's not too late to Call yourself a Rooster in 2023! With NRLW Memberships now on sale, show your support for the Women’s Game.

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.