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Saturday night's clash at the SCG will go a long way towards deciding whether the Knights will be a force in the finals.

If they're able to prove themselves against the back-to-back premiers they will enter the post-season knowing a deep run is possible. A meek showing will undo all the good work they achieved in the win over Cronulla last weekend.

As for the Roosters, the troops have returned and sights are set on having everything clicking when the finals begin.

The rundown

Team news

Roosters: Jared Wearea-Hargreaves is out of the Roosters team, with Isaac Liu moving from lock to prop and Angus Crichton elevated to the starting side. Lindsay Collins will play off the bench.

Skipper Boyd Cordner has returned to the Roosters COVID-19 bubble and took part in Friday's captain's run after being granted an NRL exemption from biosecurity protocols on family grounds. Cordner travelled to Newcastle during the week after his cousin underwent emergency brain surgery following a head knock playing in the local first-grade competition. Tragically, his cousin, Joel Dark, died on Friday, aged 19.

Jake Friend returns at hooker in place of Freddy Lussick in the only change from last week's win over Canberra. Retiring club great Mitchell Aubusson has been moved up from the reserves to the interchange bench.

Lussick and Poasa Faamausili were omitted from the reserves an hour before kick-off, while Ryan Hall and Hargreaves were the two players left out 24 hours before the match.

Knights: Kalyn Ponga, Mitch Barnett and Hymel Hunt have been rested with Tex Hoy at fullback and Edrick Lee back from injury on the wing. Daniel Saifiti will start at prop, with Jacob Saifiti moving to lock and Herman Ese'Ese dropping to the bench. Sione Mata'utia (ankle) and Chris Randall are also on the bench after initially being named as reserves.

Pasami Saulo and Tautau Moga were trimmed from the squad an hour prior to kick-off, while Phoenix Crossland and Brodie Jones were the two players omitted 24 hours before the match.

The Knights have lost three and drawn one against top-four opponents this season.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James Tedesco
    Fullback for Knights is number 1 Tex Hoy
  • Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
    Winger for Knights is number 2 Edrick Lee
  • Centre for Roosters is number 3 Josh Morris
    Centre for Knights is number 3 Enari Tuala
  • Centre for Roosters is number 4 Joseph Manu
    Centre for Knights is number 4 Gehamat Shibasaki
  • Winger for Roosters is number 5 Brett Morris
    Winger for Knights is number 5 Starford To'a
  • Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Luke Keary
    Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Mason Lino
  • Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Kyle Flanagan
    Halfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell Pearce

Forwards

  • Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho
    Prop for Knights is number 8 David Klemmer
  • Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Jake Friend
    Hooker for Knights is number 9 Kurt Mann
  • Prop for Roosters is number 13 Isaac Liu
    Prop for Knights is number 15 Daniel Saifiti
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Boyd Cordner
    2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua
    2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Aidan Guerra
  • Lock for Roosters is number 16 Angus Crichton
    Lock for Knights is number 10 Jacob Saifiti

Interchange

  • Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Nat Butcher
    Interchange for Knights is number 13 Herman Ese'ese
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Lindsay Collins
    Interchange for Knights is number 16 Josh King
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Sonny Bill Williams
    Interchange for Knights is number 18 Sione Mata'utia
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 19 Mitchell Aubusson
    Interchange for Knights is number 21 Chris Randall

Key match-up

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves v David Klemmer. It's always fun when two of the biggest, meanest and best forwards in the Telstra Premiership run into each other. Both men have plenty of help in their respective forward packs, but their battle remains a key contest.

Stat attack

Between them, James Tedesco and Kalyn Ponga combined for five tries, 456 running metres and five line breaks last weekend. Unfortunately Ponga's absence means the fans won't get to see two of the game's most electrifying players trying to out-do each other.