This top-eight clash has both the Roosters and Wests Tigers feeling energised coming off wins last week, but perhaps Michael Maguire's side even more so since they scored 30 points compared with 20 to the Roosters.
The Tigers have also proved to be tough foes for the Roosters recently. They beat Trent Robinson's men 10-8 in round one last year and later in 2018 lost another close one 16-14 in round 13.
But with Luke Keary back from concussion to steer the ship that could lay the favouritism tag well and truly in the Roosters nest.
Match: Roosters v Wests Tigers
Round 8 -
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Roosters: Winger Matt Ikavalu (knee) is out, with Joseph Manu moving to the wing and Mitchell Aubusson from the bench into the centres. Ikavalu and Poasa Faamausili were the two players left out on match eve. Luke Keary returns to the No.6 role after missing the Anzac Day game with concussion, pushing Lachlan Lam back to the reserves. Victor Radley moves from lock to hooker to replace Jake Friend (biceps). Isaac Liu returns from a broken finger to slot in at lock. Lam and Sam Verrills were omitted an hour before kick-off.
Wests Tigers: Benji Marshall was left out when the squad was culled 24 hours before kick-off. Ryan Matterson moves from the back row into the five-eighth position. In late changes an hour before kick-off, Luke Garner goes back to the bench and Elijah Taylor comes into the starting side. Russell Packer, who had been named to return after being dropped last week, has again been left out and his place on the bench taken by Jacob Liddle.
Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James TedescoFullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Moses Mbye
Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel TupouWinger for Wests Tigers is number 2 Mahe Fonua
Centre for Roosters is number 3 Latrell MitchellCentre for Wests Tigers is number 3 Robert Jennings
Centre for Roosters is number 17 Mitchell AubussonCentre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Esan Marsters
Winger for Roosters is number 4 Joseph ManuWinger for Wests Tigers is number 5 Corey Thompson
Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Luke KearyFive-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 11 Ryan Matterson
Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Cooper CronkHalfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Luke Brooks
Prop for Roosters is number 8 Jared Waerea-HargreavesProp for Wests Tigers is number 8 Ben Matulino
Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Victor RadleyHooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Robbie Farah
Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua TaukeiahoProp for Wests Tigers is number 10 Alex Twal
2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Boyd Cordner2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Chris McQueen
2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Angus Crichton2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 14 Elijah Taylor
Lock for Roosters is number 13 Isaac LiuLock for Wests Tigers is number 13 Josh Aloiai
Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Nat ButcherInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Thomas Mikaele
Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Zane TetevanoInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Matthew Eisenhuth
Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Sitili TupouniuaInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 17 Luke Garner
Interchange for Roosters is number 18 Lindsay CollinsInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 19 Jacob Liddle
- Referee: Matt Cecchin
- Referee: Tim Roby
Cooper Cronk vs Luke Brooks. The old and the new. The 354-gamer who has been steering the Storm and Roosters around with aplomb for more than a decade vs the 114-gamer who has come of age as a mature team leader in 2019. Two great kicking games on show. Two men capable of lifting their team across the line of things get tight at the end.
For the Roosters to win
The backline to work their magic yet again. James Tedesco has the most tackle breaks in the NRL (he's also scored five tries in seven games), Luke Keary the most try assists, and Latrell Mitchell the most goals and the most points. In defence the Roosters will need to watch the Wests Tigers left edge - centre Esan Marsters and his winger Mahe Fonua are proving a handful.
For the Tigers to win
Keep shifting to either side as Robert Jennings and Corey Thompson on the right flank have already racked up three tries each. If in-form Luke Brooks and stand-in No.6 Ryan Matterson can give the speed men some slick service then the Tigers can rack up enough points to trouble the premiers.
Brett Kimmorley says
I liked the Wests Tigers playing Ryan Matterson at five-eighth last week. I think that style of football suits the side. With Luke Brooks and Robbie Farah running the show as the key playmakers, they don’t need three or four playmakers in that side. The Roosters are the benchmark, they should be favourites. They continue to show different styles of attack. Their defence hasn’t been great, but that’ll get fixed. Roosters by 8
Largely off Luke Brooks' boot, the Wests Tigers are the third best in the NRL when it comes to kicks in play. The Roosters, surprsingly, lie in seventh spot despite the obvious talents of Keary and Cooper Cronk.
And another thing ...
Moses Mbye is yet to score a try in 2019 and the only member of the Wests Tigers back five with a '0' next to his name. Perhaps against the competition leaders it would be the perfect way to break that drought.