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The Roosters officially launched their 2011 season tonight by announcing that captain Braith Anasta has agreed to stay at the club until the end of the 2013 season.

Anasta, 29, ended months of speculation about his future, by confirming he has extended his contract for a further two years.

Coach Brian Smith also announced his side for their season-opening blockbuster against the Rabbitohs at the Sydney Football Stadium on Friday night with Anasta selected to start at five-eighth in the absence of injured Dally M medalist Todd Carney.

Former Dragons and Eels hooker Mark Riddell is likely to play his first NRL game in three years since returning from the UK Super League, after being named on an extended bench.

The 2009 grand finalists will face a near full-strength Rabbitohs side, although several of their key players – Greg Inglis, Sam Burgess, Issac Luke and Luke Stuart – will be playing for the first time this year after missing all pre-season trials due to injury rehab.

The Roosters team is:
1 Anthony Minichiello
2 Sam Perrett
3 Shaun Kenny-Dowall
4 Kane Linnett
5 BJ Leilua
6 Braith Anasta
7 Mitchell  Pearce
8 Jason Ryles
9 Jake Friend
10 Martin Kennedy
11 Frank Nu-Uasala
12 Mitchell Aubusson
13 Nate Myles    

Interchange (from):
14 Jared Waerea-Hargeaves
15 Mose Masoe
16 Mark Riddell
17 Tom Symonds
18 Tinarau Arona

The Rabbitohs’ team is:
1 Rhys Wesser
2 Nathan Merritt
3 Dylan Farrell
4 Greg Inglis
5 Fetuli Talanoa
6 John Sutton
7 Chris Sandow
8 Luke Stuart
9 Issac Luke
10 Roy Asotasi (c)
11 Sam Burgess
12 David Taylor
13 Ben Lowe

Interchange (from):
14 Scott Geddes
15 Ben Ross
16 Eddy Pettybourne
17 Shannan McPherson
18 Dave Tyrrell