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.
Match: Roosters v Knights
Round 18 -
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
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.
Match: Roosters v Knights
Round 18 -
Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James TedescoFullback for Knights is number 1 Tex Hoy
Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel TupouWinger for Knights is number 2 Edrick Lee
Centre for Roosters is number 3 Josh MorrisCentre for Knights is number 3 Enari Tuala
Centre for Roosters is number 4 Joseph ManuCentre for Knights is number 4 Gehamat Shibasaki
Winger for Roosters is number 5 Brett MorrisWinger for Knights is number 5 Starford To'a
Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Luke KearyFive-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Mason Lino
Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Kyle FlanaganHalfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell Pearce
Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua TaukeiahoProp for Knights is number 8 David Klemmer
Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Jake FriendHooker for Knights is number 9 Kurt Mann
Prop for Roosters is number 13 Isaac LiuProp for Knights is number 15 Daniel Saifiti
2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Boyd Cordner2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Aidan Guerra
Lock for Roosters is number 16 Angus CrichtonLock for Knights is number 10 Jacob Saifiti
Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Nat ButcherInterchange for Knights is number 13 Herman Ese'ese
Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Lindsay CollinsInterchange for Knights is number 16 Josh King
Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Sonny Bill WilliamsInterchange for Knights is number 18 Sione Mata'utia
Interchange for Roosters is number 19 Mitchell AubussonInterchange for Knights is number 21 Chris Randall
- Referee: Ashley Klein
- Touch Judge: Chris Butler
- Touch Judge: Chris Sutton
- Senior Review Official: Jared Maxwell
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.
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.