Warriors v Roosters: Schick Preview

Schick Hydro Preview: Warriors v Sydney Roosters
Mount Smart Stadium
Sunday, 2.00pm AEST, 4.00pm NZT

Following tough encounters on Anzac Day the Warriors and Sydney Roosters both have short turnarounds before meeting in Auckland in Round 9.

After footing it, and even getting the better of Melbourne for 65 minutes, the Warriors ultimately left AAMI Park with nothing to show for their efforts, and after suffering their fifth defeat of the year in the 20-14 loss on Tuesday now sit 12th on the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder.

The Roosters on the other hand snatched a dramatic victory in golden point over the St George Illawarra Dragons, with the right boot of Mitchell Pearce making the difference in a 13-12 win which lifts the Bondi men to third position.

With Solomone Kata (hamstring) out injured, the Warriors have called upon their 2016 Intrust Super Premiership Player of the Year, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, to make his NRL debut on the wing.

That sees Blake Ayshford shift to the centres while Manu Vatuvei and Albert Vete join the extended bench.

Former Warriors captain Ryan Hoffman will play his 50th match for the club.

For the Roosters veteran back-rower Mitchell Aubusson and prop Dylan Napa return to start in the pack, which means Isaac Liu and former Warrior Sio Siua Taukeiaho fall back to the bench.

Latrell Mitchell has been included in the Roosters' reserves.

Why the Warriors can win: With the exception of a couple of 40-minute periods this season, the Warriors are looking after the ball very well and starving teams of attacking opportunities as a result. In three of their last four games the Warriors have completed at over 80 per cent, and across the season they have the fourth-best completion rate in the NRL. The New Zealand side also averages just 10.5 errors per match, which ranks them in the top half of the competition. If they can keep the ball away from the Roosters it's going to make for a tough day out for the visiting side.

Why the Roosters can win: While the Roosters and Warriors are well matched through the spine, the Tricolours have an edge in the forwards, where they possess a number of dynamic performers who can do some damage at Mount Smart Stadium. In their last two matches the Roosters have had three players in their starting pack who have run for over 100 metres, and crucially in each of those games have also had someone do the same off the bench. That go-forward could cause the Warriors some real issues, especially given their big men have struggled to consistently make an impact this year.

 


The History: Warriors v Roosters: Played 37; Warriors 20; Roosters 16; Drawn 1. While the Warriors won both meetings last year, the recent record head-to-head is fairly even with the Roosters having won three-straight matches against the Kiwi franchise prior to that. At Mount Smart Stadium since 1998, the Warriors have lost only six times to the Roosters in 16 meetings.

What are the odds: This is a very even game according to the odds with Sportsbet, but punters are preferring the Roosters. Twice the money has been invested on the visitors and three times the amount of individual bets. Latest odds at sportsbet.com.au

Match officials: Referee: Ashley Klein. Assistant referee: Jon Stone. Sideline officials: Jeff Younis and Clayton Sharpe. Review official: Jared Maxwell. Senior review official: Luke Patten.

Televised: Fox Sports – Live coverage from 2.00pm (AEDT). Sky Sports - Live coverage from 4.00pm (NZT).

NRL.com predicts: These two sides match up nicely on paper, and all indicators point to a close battle which should go down to the final few minutes. If that's the case then mental toughness will make all the difference, and right now the Roosters have the edge in that category. Roosters by 8.