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These two sides arrive in Gosford licking their wounds after suffering humiliating defeats last round - the Roosters embarrassed 34-16 by the Broncos and the Raiders having 34 unanswered points put on them by the Storm.

Recent woes aside, these two sides also still have some pent-up emotion from their 2019 grand final meeting.

However, in 2021 they are both clinging on to the hope of another finals campaign: the Rosters trying to stay in touch with the top four while the Raiders are losing contact with the top eight. Last week's loss was their sixth in the past seven rounds.

Both Trent Robinson and Ricky Stuart are trying to plug holes in their line-ups due to injuries and suspensions, but the Raiders aren't faring as well. Stuart refuses to use the personnel changes as an excuse, saying hard work is the only remedy for the drop in form. They have conceded 171 points in their past six games - the Roosters 115.

The rundown

Team news

Roosters: Several late changes with halfback Sam Walker dropping out of the side to 18th man and Joey Manu shifting to five-eighth and Lachlan Lam to halfback.

Manu's shift away from the centres sees teenager Joseph Suaalii return to the starting side in jersey 21.

Egan Butcher joins the bench in his NRL debut and Tuku Hau Tupuha is out.

Nat Butcher was moved into the starting side in place of the suspended Angus Crichton 24 hours before kick-off. Naufahu Whyte was left out on the eve of the match.

Both Victor Radley (five matches) and Crichton (two matches) were suspended after being unsuccessful at the judiciary on Tuesday night.

With Radley out, Isaac Liu moves from prop to lock and Siosiua Taukeiaho is promoted to start at prop. Daniel Suluka Fifita joins the bench.

Raiders: Josh Hodgson has been promoted to the starting side in his comeback game from suspension and Tom Starling goes to the bench.

Five-eighth Jack Wighton also returns from suspension and winger Jordan Rapana is back from a hamstring injury. 

Sam Williams is the new halfback after Englishman George Williams was granted an immediate release by the club during the week.

Veteran Sia Soliola has been named on the bench and Hudson Young drops out. Also gone from last week's bench is Brad Schneider, who made his NRL debut last week.

Elliott Whitehead suffered a gruesome finger injury during the deflating loss to Melbourne but has been named to play. Whitehead has also been charged with tripping and entered a not guilty plea.

Harry Rushton and Brad Schneider were left out 24 hours before kick-off. Elijah Anderson is 18th man.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James Tedesco
    Fullback for Raiders is number 1 Caleb Aekins
  • Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
    Winger for Raiders is number 2 Bailey Simonsson
  • Centre for Roosters is number 3 Josh Morris
    Centre for Raiders is number 3 Sebastian Kris
  • Centre for Roosters is number 21 Joseph Suaalii
    Centre for Raiders is number 4 Curtis Scott
  • Winger for Roosters is number 5 Matt Ikuvalu
    Winger for Raiders is number 5 Jordan Rapana
  • Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 4 Joseph Manu
    Five-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack Wighton
  • Halfback for Roosters is number 6 Lachlan Lam
    Halfback for Raiders is number 7 Sam Williams

Forwards

  • Prop for Roosters is number 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
    Prop for Raiders is number 8 Dunamis Lui
  • Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Ben Marschke
    Hooker for Raiders is number 14 Josh Hodgson
  • Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho
    Prop for Raiders is number 10 Emre Guler
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua
    2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Corey Harawira-Naera
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 15 Nat Butcher
    2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead
  • Lock for Roosters is number 13 Isaac Liu
    Lock for Raiders is number 13 Ryan Sutton

Interchange

  • Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Adam Keighran
    Interchange for Raiders is number 9 Tom Starling
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Daniel Suluka-Fifita
    Interchange for Raiders is number 15 Iosia Soliola
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Fletcher Baker
    Interchange for Raiders is number 16 Corey Horsburgh
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 20 Egan Butcher
    Interchange for Raiders is number 17 Ryan James

Reserves

  • Reserve for Roosters is number 7 Sam Walker
    Reserve for Raiders is number 18 Elijah Anderson

Match Officials

  • Referee: Grant Atkins
  • Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
  • Touch Judge: Liam Kennedy
  • Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein

Last updated:

Key match-up

Sam Williams v Sam Walker: The sudden departure of Englishman George Williams this week thrusts his namesake Sam into the key playmaking role for this must-win game. After a decade in the NRL the rock solid Raider is closing in on 100 career games and he comes up against the new kid on the block in Sam Walker - owner of just eight NRL appearances. Walker boasts 10 try assists in 2021 and looks every bit a 10-year player so an intriguing battle looms between the 18-year-old and a man 12 years his senior.

Stat attack

Despite a lengthy injury list, the Roosters are still second to Storm in the NRL on line breaks with 67. The Raiders have a host of Origin and international players but are further down the list in ninth spot on 45. 

 

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