After scraping home against a fast-finishing Tigers last week, the Roosters hope to welcome back Origin reps Boyd Cordner, James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell and Dylan Napa if they all pull up well.
Coach Trent Robinson was happy with his team's defensive effort but the Chooks scored just enough points to overcome the Tigers in a mistake-heavy clash and should function more efficiently in attack if they get back to full strength.
Few people tipped the Knights last week but they emphatically broke a four-game losing streak with a 30-4 caning of the pitiful Eels.
And while Kalyn Ponga was typically great, the 20-year-old finally got some help from players that needed to step up. The Knights have a tougher challenge on their hands this week and need to raise the bar to prove last week's big win wasn't a fluke.
Key match-up: A standout for the Knights last week, Daniel Saifiti has to take it up another notch against the Roosters pack. If Saifiti can leave dents in the defensive line it will open up opportunities for Ponga to reach into his bag of tricks and work his magic.
For the Knights to win: Beating Parramatta so convincingly lifted a fog that had been hanging over the Knights for a month. They will have an extra spring in their step this week and have to ride that renewed confidence and strong hometown support from their league-loving fans. If they can keep the Chooks' speed men quiet an upset could be on the cards.
For the Roosters to win: Roosters coach Trent Robinson must've been concerned about some of the panic and poor attacking options which were evident throughout his team's disjointed 80-minute performance last week. The Chooks have to be more methodical and poised in the way they go about their business.
Knights stat attack: McDonald Jones Stadium may be bad luck for the Knights having lost their past three games at their home ground. Coming off a 30-4 away win over the Eels, Nathan Brown's men are sure to attract a huge crowd and will like their chances of registering a first home win since round five against Brisbane.
Roosters stat attack: Blake Ferguson has scored nine tries in his past six clashes with the Knights and will look to make another statement to Blues coach Brad Fittler after a standout display in attack and defence against Wests Tigers last Sunday.
Match: Knights v Roosters
Round 14 -
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
Newcastle Knights v Sydney Roosters, Saturday 5.30pm at McDonald Jones Stadium
Knights: 1 Kalyn Ponga, 2 Ken Sio, 3 Sione Mata'utia, 4 Cory Denniss, 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 6 Connor Watson, 7 Jack Cogger, 8 Herman Ese'ese, 9 Slade Griffin, 17 Josh King, 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12 Mitchell Barnett, 13 Aidan Guerra (c)
Interchange: 14 Danny Levi, 15 Chris Heighington, 16 Jamie Buhrer (c), 18 Jacob Lillyman
Josh King moves into the starting side with Jacob Lillyman on the bench, with Daniel Saifiti having dropped out of the squad 24 hours before kick-off. Herman Ese'ese (suspension) returns at prop in the only other change from the team's big last-start win over Parramatta. Along with Saifiti, Brock Lamb was the other player dropped from the squad 24 hours out from game time. Luke Yates and Nicholas Meaney dropped out of the squad an hour before kick-off.
Roosters: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Daniel Tupou, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 Joseph Manu, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Cooper Cronk, 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 9 Jake Friend (c), 10 Dylan Napa, 11 Boyd Cordner, 12 Siosiua Taukeiaho, 13 Isaac Liu
Interchange: 14 Zane Tetevano, 15 Kurt Baptiste, 16 Mitchell Aubusson, 17 Victor Radley
Fullback James Tedesco, centre Latrell Mitchell and prop Dylan Napa have all been named to return from Origin but Boyd Cordner is out. Mitch Aubusson starts for Cordner. Nat Butcher, Lindsay Collins and Paul Momirovski were cut from the extended bench on game day while Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Billy Smith and Mitchell Cornish were dropped from the squad 24 hours out from kick-off.
Head-to-head: Played 51; Roosters 30 wins, Knights 19 wins, 2 draws
Matches at venue: Played 24; Roosters 13 wins, Knights 9 wins, 2 draw
2017 results: Roosters won 24-6 at McDonald Jones Stadium in round 7; Roosters won 28-4 at Allianz Stadium in round 20
Points per game: Knights 18.5; Roosters 20.3
Points conceded per game: Knights 26.6; Roosters 15.1
Televised: Live on Fox League
Steve Turner's prediction: The Knights registered a good win last week against a poor Eels side, but they will need to go to another level if they're to get the win this weekend. Newcastle need more from the halves. Kalyn Ponga can't do it all! Their opposition are finally clicking into gear and showing signs of what everyone expected from them. The Roosters will welcome a number of stars back into their side this week following the opening game up Origin which will only strengthen them.
Tip: Roosters by 10