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A couple of astute additions to an already strong squad sees the Roosters enter the new season with high expectations hovering over them, following last year's exit in Finals Week 2. 

Incoming three-time premiership winning prop Spencer Leniu has a case to be considered the best interchange weapon in the competition, while Dominic Young scored an NRL-high 25 tries last season for the Knights and is among the top wingers around right now. 

The signing of 2m tall Young – to play on the opposite flank to 1.96m Daniel Tupou – also means the Roosters are likely to boast the tallest wing combination in the NRL, and if Sam Walker and Luke Keary can dial in on kicks out to them it will be serious issue for opposing teams.

It should also mean Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii is able to play as a dedicated centre this year after splitting time between there and the wing in 2023. 

The pack features representative talent galore and includes several players who can switch between middle and edge roles. Even with veteran enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves missing Round 1 due to suspension, it looks set to be a point of strength right from the go. 

Who fills that temporary void at prop is set to come down to Egan Butcher or Terrell May, but with the latter yet to start a game in the NRL and Butcher having been a run-on prop for the final three games of the year, coach Trent Robinson will likely opt for the proven quantity. 

Egan Butcher try 10th minute

The loss of hooker Jake Turpin and utility Drew Hutchison to the Bulldogs will be offset by the injury return of Connor Watson, whose ability to play almost any position on the field will make him a valuable addition to the bench.

Even if injuries or suspensions hit the Roosters this season, with capable first-graders like Sandon Smith, Billy Smith and May likely to miss out on spots in the first-choice 17, the club should have more than enough depth to get through. 

NRL Fantasy club by club: Roosters

Predicted Round 1 team

1. James Tedesco
2. Daniel Tupou
3. Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii
4. Joey Manu
5. Dominic Young
6. Luke Keary
7. Sam Walker
8. Lindsay Collins 
9. Brandon Smith
10. Egan Butcher
11. Siua Wong
12. Nat Butcher
13. Victor Radley
14. Connor Watson
15. Angus Crichton
16. Spencer Leniu
17. Sitili Tupouniua

Key Changes

Ins: Dominic Young (Knights), Spencer Leniu (Panthers).
Outs: Fletcher Baker (Broncos), Paul Momirovski (Leeds Rhinos), Drew Hutchison (Bulldogs), Jake Turpin (Bulldogs).

Health Check

No current injury concerns. 

Positional Battle to Watch

The Roosters are blessed with an embarrassment of riches in the back row and heading into their season-opener in Vegas there are four legitimate contenders to fill the spot alongside Nat Butcher. 

Coach Robinson could end up with two Test second-rowers on his bench, with World Cup winning Kangaroo Angus Crichton and Tongan powerhouse Sitili Tupouniua both good chances of missing out on starting roles due to 20-year-old Siua Wong – who was excellent through the final two months of last season – being a good chance of getting first crack. 

Siua on the spot

While Egan Butcher, who started 16 games in the back row in 2023, is a good chance of starting at prop in Round 1, longer term he's no certainty to even make the 17 if the pack are all fit and firing. 

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.