After their dreams of being the first club win to win three straight premierships in almost 40 years were dashed last October, the Roosters welcome the Sea Eagles to the SCG for round one.
Trent Robinson's team are deservedly included prominently when talk turns to potential premiers.
The same can't be said for a Manly team that looks to be on the wrong end of an injury curse once again. Tom Trbojevic has sustained another hamstring injury.
Des Hasler must be trying to remember when he walked under a ladder.
Roosters v Sea Eagles
Match: Roosters v Sea Eagles
Round 1 -
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground*, Sydney
Roosters: The Roosters will start 1-17 after Fletcher Baker and Sam Walker were the two players left out an hour before game time. Luke Keary, who sat out their trial clash with a hamstring issue, will take his place after training on Monday. Lachlan Lam will be his halves partner with Adam Keighran grabbing a bench spot.
Lindsay Collins has earned a start at prop with veteran Jared Waerea-Hargreaves sliding to the bench. Angus Crichton will line up on the left edge in place of skipper Boyd Cordner with Sitili Tupouniua slotting into the retired Mitch Aubusson's right side back-row position. Victor Radley and Sam Verrills (both ACL) will be kept on ice for at least another week.
Matt Ikuvalu and Freddy Lussick were omitted from the 21-man squad on Friday.
The Roosters have lost their opening round game for the past three seasons.
Sea Eagles: Des Hasler's team will start 1-17 after Josh Schuster and Sean Keppie were the last two players omitted. Dylan Walker is the surprise replacement for star fullback Tom Trbojevic (hamstring) and his switch gives Brad Parker a start in the centres alongside Moses Suli.
Back-rower Jack Gosiewski has seen off the challenge of veteran recruit Andrew Davey, who will start from the bench.
Much of the attacking responsibility will now fall onto the shoulders of veteran halves Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran. Josh Aloiai takes over from Addin Fonua-Blake in the front row.
Lachlan Croker has recovered from his hamstring issue to get the start at No.9 with Cade Cust returning from a thumb injury in the NSW Cup, while centre Tevita Funa has earned a bench spot. The Sea Eagles will play their first game at the SCG in seven years.
Toafofoa Sipley and Morgan Harper were omitted from the extended squad 24 hours before kick-off.
Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James TedescoFullback for Sea Eagles is number 1 Dylan Walker
Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel TupouWinger for Sea Eagles is number 2 Jason Saab
Centre for Roosters is number 3 Josh MorrisCentre for Sea Eagles is number 3 Brad Parker
Centre for Roosters is number 4 Joseph ManuCentre for Sea Eagles is number 4 Moses Suli
Winger for Roosters is number 5 Brett MorrisWinger for Sea Eagles is number 5 Reuben Garrick
Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Lachlan LamFive-Eighth for Sea Eagles is number 6 Kieran Foran
Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Luke KearyHalfback for Sea Eagles is number 7 Daly Cherry-Evans
Prop for Roosters is number 8 Lindsay CollinsProp for Sea Eagles is number 8 Josh Aloiai
Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Jake FriendHooker for Sea Eagles is number 9 Lachlan Croker
Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua TaukeiahoProp for Sea Eagles is number 10 Martin Taupau
2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Angus Crichton2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 11 Jack Gosiewski
2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 12 Curtis Sironen
Lock for Roosters is number 13 Isaac LiuLock for Sea Eagles is number 13 Jake Trbojevic
Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Adam KeighranInterchange for Sea Eagles is number 14 Tevita Funa
Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Jared Waerea-HargreavesInterchange for Sea Eagles is number 15 Andrew Davey
Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Nat ButcherInterchange for Sea Eagles is number 16 Morgan Boyle
Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Daniel Suluka-FifitaInterchange for Sea Eagles is number 17 Taniela Paseka
- Referee: Chris Sutton
- Touch Judge: Matt Noyen
- Touch Judge: Nick Beashel
- Senior Review Official: Chris Butler
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves v Martin Taupau: The friendship they shared when playing for New Zealand will be put on hold in a huge season opener. A pair of no-nonsense players, these veterans can usually be relied upon to give their side a strong start to sets of six. JWH has been named on then bench but don't be surprised if he gets a late call-up to start.
Between them, James Tedesco and Joey Manu made 224 tackle breaks last season. Manly's top two (Cherry-Evans and Taupau) combined for exactly 100 fewer. Manly need to put more pressure on the opposition defence in 2021.
What will be the result in this Telstra Premiership clash?
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