The Roosters' hopes of reversing their season-opening loss to South Sydney when they face Manly at Lottoland on Saturday night have been dealt a blow with Cooper Cronk ruled out.
Cronk has hamstring tightness so the Roosters have drafted in Lachlan Lam to make his NRL debut at halfback.
For Manly, the signs weren't too promising in their first-up loss to the Wests Tigers and Des Hasler will be crossing his fingers Tom Trbojevic recovers quickly from an ankle injury suffered late in the pre-season.
In the meantime, Hasler and the Sea Eagles have a date with the premiers to prepare for and it's no secret the Roosters will be keen to atone for their season-opening home loss to arch rivals Souths.
Then again, the Chooks were in slow-cook mode throughout the first half of 2018 before charging home in the second round, so don't be surprised if they aren't red-hot on Saturday night.
Match: Sea Eagles v Roosters
Round 2 -
Venue: 4 Pines Park, Sydney
Sea Eagles: Manly are 1-17. Corey Waddell will need to pass a fitness test on his ribs in a bid to make his NRL debut off the bench. Sea Eagles forward Joel Thompson will play his 200th NRL game.
Roosters: Latrell Mitchell moves into the halves to cover Cooper Cronk (hamstring), Victor Radley starts at hooker for Jake Friend (shoulder), Mitchell Aubusson starts in the centres and Angus Crichton is in the second row. Poasa Faamausili and Lachlan Lam join the bench.
Match: Sea Eagles v Roosters
Round 2 -
Fullback for Sea Eagles is number 1 Brendan ElliotFullback for Roosters is number 1 James Tedesco
Winger for Sea Eagles is number 2 Jorge TaufuaWinger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
Centre for Sea Eagles is number 3 Moses SuliCentre for Roosters is number 4 Joseph Manu
Centre for Sea Eagles is number 4 Brad ParkerCentre for Roosters is number 12 Mitchell Aubusson
Winger for Sea Eagles is number 5 Reuben GarrickWinger for Roosters is number 5 Brett Morris
Five-Eighth for Sea Eagles is number 6 Kane ElgeyFive-Eighth for Roosters is number 3 Latrell Mitchell
Halfback for Sea Eagles is number 7 Daly Cherry-EvansHalfback for Roosters is number 6 Luke Keary
Prop for Sea Eagles is number 8 Toafofoa SipleyProp for Roosters is number 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
Hooker for Sea Eagles is number 9 Apisai KoroisauHooker for Roosters is number 13 Victor Radley
Prop for Sea Eagles is number 10 Martin TaupauProp for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho
2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 11 Joel Thompson2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Boyd Cordner
2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 12 Curtis Sironen2nd Row for Roosters is number 17 Angus Crichton
Lock for Sea Eagles is number 13 Jake TrbojevicLock for Roosters is number 14 Isaac Liu
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 14 Manase FainuInterchange for Roosters is number 15 Zane Tetevano
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 15 Jack GosiewskiInterchange for Roosters is number 16 Lindsay Collins
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 16 Corey WaddellInterchange for Roosters is number 21 Poasa Faamausili
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 17 Kelepi TanginoaInterchange for Roosters is number 23 Lachlan Lam
- Referee: Matt Cecchin
- Referee: Chris Butler
While Daly Cherry-Evans has to play his usual dominant role for Manly, centres Moses Suli and Brad Parker have a big job on their hands against Latrell Mitchell and Joseph Manu. Mitchell thought he allowed himself to be baited by the Rabbitohs last week and was put off his game. It'll be interesting to see if Parker and Suli employ similar tactics.
For the Sea Eagles to win
While the Roosters are out to make amends, Manly should also be looking to make a statement - to themselves and their critics - that they will be better than their first-round performance would suggest. They are over-matched at almost every position but an upset is possible if the Roosters don't come to play.
For the Roosters to win
They didn't look lazy or complacent at any stage but the premiers weren't able to stay with the Rabbitohs last week when the game went up a notch in the second half. The Sea Eagles aren't the Bunnies, but they will be on home turf and seeking an upset. Mitchell and a few other big names need to step up after so-so performances last week.
Brett Kimmorley says ...
The hard part for Manly at the moment is that they have key players not available. Api Koroisau, Kane Elgey and Daly Cherry-Evans – they are the players that are really important for Manly, they have to be a lot more creative this week. For the Roosters, it is important that Latrell doesn’t go down that path of being easily baited. The only thing he needs to worry about is his job for the team – which is to score tries, run over people and defend his space. Roosters by 10
Sea Eagles Stat Attack
Prop Addin Fonua-Blake was one of his team's better players against the Tigers, tallying 198m from 19 runs in 63 minutes of game time. He also finished with 18 hit-ups and 26 tackles to his name.
Roosters Stat Attack
Trent Robinson wouldn't have been pleased with his team's 64% completion last week. The Roosters made 113 more tackles than the Bunnies and missed 27. They also had four more errors than Souths and conceded twice as many penalties.
Played 132, Manly 84, Sydney Roosters 46, drawn 2
Played 50, Manly 36, Sydney Roosters 14
And another thing ...
Manly beat the Roosters 19-14 in the 1972 grand final after they finished 1-2 on the ladder and won their way through a top five finals series. Fred Jones and Ray Branighan scored Manly's tries, while Branighan kicked six goals and Bob Fulton kicked a field goal. The Roosters' points came via tries to John Ballesty and Bill Mullins and four goals to Allan McKean. The Roosters finally exacted revenge 41 years later with a 26-18 defeat of the Sea Eagles in the 2013 grand final.