Sharks v Roosters: Dugan out, Moylan in, Chooks unchanged
Both teams will enter this clash with an air of optimism. The home side is coming off a grinding 14-4 triumph versus the Melbourne Storm while the Tricolours were disappointing last start, hammered 30-6 by the red-hot Warriors.
Both teams pride themselves on their physical nature, so expect an arm wrestle from the opening whistle.
Sharks v Roosters, Southern Cross Group Stadium, Friday April 6, 6pm
The key match-up: Matt Moylan v Luke Keary. The Sharks pivot will be the first to admit he hasn't set the world on fire at his new club, but form is temporary and class is permanent. He faces a huge task to outplay Keary, who is already being touted as an option to wear the No.6 jersey for the NSW Blues come early June such has been his vintage early season form.
For the Sharks to win: A repeat of last week's heroic defence. Keeping the Storm try-less was an amazing effort in a match featuring plenty of niggle. Moylan needs to step up, with the pivot still chasing his first win in club colours.
For the Roosters to win: They need to bottle the commanding performances they produced in round two versus the Bulldogs and round three against the Knights. Coach Robinson craves consistency, a trait which has been lacking early on in 2018.
Sharks Stat Attack: Halfback Chad Townsend has been radar like with the boot, booting 17 goals across the first few rounds. He sits behind only St George Illawarra five-eighth Gareth Widdop (25) and Sea Eagles skipper Daly Cherry-Evans (19) this season.
Roosters Stat Attack: Winger Blake Ferguson has been a standout, easily clocking up the most metres in the competition (809m). He is also the yardstick when it comes to all runs (75). Hooker Jake Friend has tackled himself to a standstill, with 208 tackles, ahead of Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough (200).
And another thing: The Roosters have only played once away from their base at Allianz Stadium – and they lost to the Wests Tigers 10-8 in their season opener at ANZ Stadium. If they are to be a genuine title threat, they need to win on the road.
Prediction: Roosters by 4
Match: Sharks vs Roosters
Round 5 -
Venue: Southern Cross Group Stadium
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
Sharks: 6 Matt Moylan, 2 Sosaia Feki, 3 Jesse Ramien, 4 Ricky Leutele, 5 Valentine Holmes, 18 Trent Hodkinson, 7 Chad Townsend, 8 Andrew Fifita, 9 Jayden Brailey, 10 Matt Prior, 11 Luke Lewis, 12 Wade Graham (c), 13 Paul Gallen (c)
Interchange: 14 Kurt Capewell, 15 James Segeyaro, 16 Avagalu Seumanufagai, 17 Joseph Paulo
Josh Dugan (groin) is a late withdrawal at fullback, prompting a switch for Matt Moylan from five-eighth to fullback in his return from a two-game absence with a hamstring injury. Trent Hodkinson has been promoted to start at five-eighth. The Sharks have won both games Hodkinson has started. Kurt Dillon and Jack Williams were dropped from the squad 24 hours out from kick-off. Edrick Lee has been omitted from the final line-up.
Roosters: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Reece Robinson, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 Joseph Manu, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Cooper Cronk, 8 Sio Siua Taukeiaho, 9 Jake Friend (c), 10 Dylan Napa, 11 Boyd Cordner (c), 12 Ryan Matterson, 13 Isaac Liu
Interchange: 14 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 15 Zane Tetevano, 16 Mitchell Aubusson, 17 Victor Radley
The Roosters are unchanged despite going down 30-6 to the Warriors at home last week. Mitchell Cornish and Lindsay Collins were dropped from the squad 24 hours out from game time. Kurt Baptiste and Nat Butcher were omitted an hour before kick-off.
Head-to-head: Played 93, Roosters 57 wins, Sharks 34 wins, 2 draws.
Matches at venue: Played 47; Roosters 27 wins; Sharks 18 wins; 2 draws.
2017 results: Sharks won 44-12 in round 17 and 16-14 in round 25
Points per game: Sharks 14.5; Roosters 20.5
Points conceded per game: Sharks 12; Roosters 15
Televised: Live on Fox League