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A match-up that always has feeling, the kind of feeling that can only come from having come face to face in a grand final.

These two sides haven't been as evenly matched in recent times as they were when they met way back in the 2004 decider, but that doesn't mean the encounter has lost any passion.

It's a must-win for the Roosters against the lowly Bulldogs, but the Dogs have shown they don't let teams off easy and they'll take it to the end, whether they're in it or not.

The Rundown

Team news

Roosters: James Tedesco will be rested with Joseph Manu moving to fullback and Mitchell Aubusson starting at centre. Brock Lamb dropped off the reserves list on Saturday. Origin stars Latrell Mitchell and Angus Crichton are welcome inclusions after being rested last weekend. Victor Radley takes over the hooking role from Sam Verrills after coming off the bench in the loss to the Panthers. Zane Tetevano reverts to the bench with Isaac Liu shifting to prop and Nat Butcher starting at lock. Lindsay Collis is also out while Poasa Faamausili and Verrills join the interchange from the reserves.

Bulldogs: Jack Cogger and Adam Elliott are out, with Fa'amanu Brown at halfback and Corey Harawira-Naera into the starting pack. Chris Smith joins the interchange. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has been named in the centres to make his Bulldogs debut, with Marcelo Montoya moving to the wing and Christian Crichton dropped.

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Roosters is number 4 Joseph Manu
    Fullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Nick Meaney
  • Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
    Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Marcelo Montoya
  • Centre for Roosters is number 3 Latrell Mitchell
    Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
  • Centre for Roosters is number 17 Mitchell Aubusson
    Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 Will Hopoate
  • Winger for Roosters is number 5 Ryan Hall
    Winger for Bulldogs is number 5 Reimis Smith
  • Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Drew Hutchison
    Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Kieran Foran
  • Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Cooper Cronk
    Halfback for Bulldogs is number 19 Fa'amanu Brown


  • Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho
    Prop for Bulldogs is number 8 Aiden Tolman
  • Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Victor Radley
    Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Jeremy Marshall-King
  • Prop for Roosters is number 13 Isaac Liu
    Prop for Bulldogs is number 10 Dylan Napa
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Boyd Cordner
    2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Josh Jackson
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Angus Crichton
    2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Raymond Faitala-Mariner
  • Lock for Roosters is number 14 Nat Butcher
    Lock for Bulldogs is number 16 Corey Harawira-Naera


  • Interchange for Roosters is number 8 Zane Tetevano
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Rhyse Martin
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Sitili Tupouniua
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Danny Fualalo
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 18 Poasa Faamausili
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Sauaso Sue
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 21 Sam Verrills
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 21 Chris Smith

Match Officials

  • Referee: Matt Cecchin
  • Touch Judge: Peter Gough
  • Touch Judge: Nick Beashel
  • Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy

Last updated:

Key match-up

There's probably more mismatches than match-ups in this one, but Dylan Napa will want a big showing ahead of Origin team announcements and against his old side. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Siosuia Taukeiaho won't be taking a backward step so it could produce a battle royale.

For the Roosters to win

They need to use their creative backline and force the Bulldogs' defence into decision-making on the run. Canterbury rank among the most for missed and ineffective tackles, something the Roosters have the capability to expose and take full advantage of.

For the Bulldogs to win

The Bulldogs have kept themselves in games throughout 2019 by being disciplined, holding the ball and keeping possession to give themselves a chance. If they do that and make decent metres to get in the danger zone, they must then move the ball around, take some risks and look for repeat sets. If they have the ball, the Roosters can't score.

Brett Kimmorley says

The Roosters have had a couple of losses and I expect them to bounce back. Latrell Mitchell will be back in the centres and it could be a long day out for the Dogs. Injuries in the halves for Canterbury could make points hard to come by. I'm tipping Cooper Cronk to be the star of the day. Roosters by 12.

Stat Attack

A top team against a bottom team, the season stats are going to generally fall in the way of the better performing side. But the Bulldogs lead the comp for completions and interestingly sit second for average metres made, behind Souths, with 1595 per game. The Roosters are ninth with an average 1493, 100 metres fewer per match.

And another thing ...

The Bulldogs were giving things a red hot go off the back of powerhouse Jayden Okunbor, but with him out with a toe injury, they've really lost something. He sits among the top in the competition for line-breaks (10), which gave the Bulldogs something to play off.

Without that against the Roosters, it might be hard for the Bulldogs to dismantle thems.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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