Warriors v Roosters: Luke out, Johnson missing; no Radley for Roosters
The Warriors continue to surprise us, bouncing back from the debacle against the Storm with a dominant victory over the Tigers.
Unfortunately it came at a cost, with halfback Shaun Johnson suffering an ankle injury which is expected to keep him out for 3-4 games.
That opens the door again for young Mason Lino, who has done a good job for the Warriors as Johnson's understudy in other games this season.
If we're going on form and confidence, the Warriors definitely go into this game with an edge. They are on home turf and captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will be relishing the prospect of facing his former teammates and showing how he has grown into a leader.
The Roosters chalked up their fifth win of the year to remain in the top eight, but they only just got home against the struggling Sea Eagles. It might've been a different story if Daly Cherry-Evans hadn't missed a sitter of a conversion in the first half.
Maybe coach Trent Robinson believes his team's progress is on schedule and has no serious concerns about their scratchy form. Still, the Chooks are yet to prove they are premiership material and have a ways to go before being mentioned in the same breath as the Dragons and Storm.
Match: Warriors vs Roosters
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
Key match-up: He won a premiership with the Roosters and would love to be the man to lead the Warriors to the club's first premiership. But before he thinks about titles, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has a game to win against his former team on Saturday at Mt Smart Stadium. James Tedesco is the Roosters' fullback these days and is part of a grand plan to bring another premiership to the club. RTS has been in excellent form this season and his battle with Tedesco should be a ripper.
For the Warriors to win: The Warriors forwards don't get too many accolades but they have played a huge role in the 7-2 start to the season. If they continue to do what they've been doing, it will create space for RTS and Blake Green to get the back-line firing.
For the Roosters to win: Tedesco has shown flashes of brilliance and needs to start doing it on a regular basis like he did when he played with the Tigers. This will be his 100th NRL game and 'Teddy' will want to make sure he remembers his century milestone for all the right reasons.
Warriors stat attack: Winger David Fusitu'a is the NRL's equal leading try-scorer (11) with Melbourne's Josh Addo-Carr. The Warriors lead the competition in off-loads (137) and 40/20 kicks (4).
Roosters stat attack: Cooper Cronk leads all players in kicks (104) and kick metres (3068), Blake Ferguson is top player in runs (170) and run metres (1730), while Tedesco is the NRL's leader in kick return metres (482)
And another thing: The Warriors have reached two grand finals in the club's 23-year existence – 2002 and 2011. They were minor premiers in '02 with a 17-7 record but were overrun 30-8 by the Roosters in the grand final. In '11 the Ivan Cleary-coached Warriors defied the odds to reach the premiership decider from sixth spot before losing 24-10 to Manly.
New Zealand Warriors v Sydney Roosters, Saturday 3pm at Mt Smart Stadium
Warriors: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), 2 David Fusitu'a, 3 Peta Hiku, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Ken Maumalo, 6 Blake Green, 7 Mason Lino, 8 Bunty Afoa, 14 Karl Lawton, 10 Agnatius Paasi, 16 Isaiah Papali'i, 12 Tohu Harris, 13 Adam Blair
Interchange: 11 Simon Mannering, 15 Sam Lisone, 17 James Gavet, 20 Jazz Tevaga
A blow for the Warriors with Issac Luke (shoulder) withdrawing on Friday afternoon, opening the door for Karl Lawton to start at hooker. Mason Lino will man the halfback spot in place of Shaun Johnson (ankle). Simon Mannering has been dropped to the interchange bench, with Isaiah Papali'i given the nod to start. Sam Cook and Anthony Gelling were trimmed from the squad an hour before kick-off.
Roosters: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Joseph Manu, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 Mitchell Aubusson, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Cooper Cronk, 8 Siosiua 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 Kurt Baptiste, 18 Nat Butcher
Roosters coach Trent Robinson has made just one change to his initial squad named on Tuesday, with Nat Butcher added to the bench. Butcher was brought in after the Roosters lost Victor Radley to suspension. Sitili Tupouniua and Lindsay Collins were cut an hour before kick-off, while Frank-Paul Nuuausala and Mitch Cornish were dropped on Friday afternoon.
Head-to-head: Played 39; Warriors 22 wins, Roosters 16 wins, 1 draw
Matches at venue: Played 18; Warriors 12 wins, Roosters 6 wins
2017 result: Warriors won 14-13 at Mt Smart Stadium in round 9
Points per game: Warriors 22; Roosters 17.8
Points conceded per game: Warriors 17.6; Roosters 15.6
Televised: Live on Fox League
Steve Turner's prediction: After a hiccup against the Storm on Anzac Day, the Warriors got back into their groove and showed everyone that they are a very good football team with an impressive win over the Tigers. The Roosters, well I'm not sure what to make of their performances in recent weeks. They have mixed wins with losses for the past seven weeks and have really struggled to find consistency in their football. You don't write off a good team, but the Warriors have so much up-side and on home soil they will be too good. Tip: Warriors by 6