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With the State of Origin period now in the rearview mirror both of these clubs can put all their attention towards the race to the finals.

The Roosters have copped a brutal run of injuries this year yet find themselves in fifth place, with their only defeats since round 11 coming at the hands of last year's grand finalists Melbourne and Penrith.

After beating the Bulldogs and Cowboys they are chasing three straight wins for the first time this season, and face a Newcastle side battered and bruised by last week's thrashing by the Storm.

Newcastle were without Mitchell Pearce and Daniel Saifiti in that game and lost Kalyn Ponga and David Klemmer to first-half head knocks, and will be much improved if all four return this week.

But will it be enough to match it with an in-form Tricolours outfit?

The rundown

Team news

Roosters: The Roosters will start 1-13 with Adam Keighran the 18th man.

Siosiua Taukeiaho (hamstring) failed a final fitness at Thursday's training run and he is out, replaced on the bench by Fletcher Baker.

Lachlan Lam, Nat Butcher and Egan Butcher are also on the bench.

James Tedesco is back from his post-Origin rest so Joey Manu returns to the centres partnering Billy Smith, with veteran Josh Morris omitted.

The Roosters have won nine of their past 10 games against the Knights.

Knights: No late changes for the Knights, with Tex Hoy to be the 18th man.

Kalyn Ponga will play but prop David Klemmer will miss Friday's clash against the Roosters due to concussion symptoms.

Klemmer indicated he had symptoms of headaches following the side's loss to the Storm last week and will be rested with Jack Johns coming onto the bench. 

The Saifiti twins, Daniel (ribs) and Jacob (ankle) will play.

Simi Sasagi and Lachlan Fitzgibbon dropped out of the extended squad on Thursday.

Knights winger Dominic Young has scored four tries in his past four games.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James Tedesco
    Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
  • Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
    Winger for Knights is number 2 Dominic Young
  • Centre for Roosters is number 3 Billy Smith
    Centre for Knights is number 3 Kurt Mann
  • Centre for Roosters is number 4 Joseph Manu
    Centre for Knights is number 4 Enari Tuala
  • Winger for Roosters is number 5 Matt Ikuvalu
    Winger for Knights is number 5 Hymel Hunt
  • Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Drew Hutchison
    Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Jake Clifford
  • Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Sam Walker
    Halfback for Knights is number 7 Phoenix Crossland

Forwards

  • Prop for Roosters is number 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
    Prop for Knights is number 8 Jacob Saifiti
  • Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Sam Verrills
    Hooker for Knights is number 9 Jayden Brailey
  • Prop for Roosters is number 10 Isaac Liu
    Prop for Knights is number 10 Daniel Saifiti
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Angus Crichton
    2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Tyson Frizell
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua
    2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Mitchell Barnett
  • Lock for Roosters is number 13 Victor Radley
    Lock for Knights is number 13 Connor Watson

Interchange

  • Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Lachlan Lam
    Interchange for Knights is number 14 Sauaso Sue
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Nat Butcher
    Interchange for Knights is number 16 Josh King
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Egan Butcher
    Interchange for Knights is number 17 Brodie Jones
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 19 Fletcher Baker
    Interchange for Knights is number 18 Jack Johns

Reserves

  • Reserve for Roosters is number 18 Adam Keighran
    Reserve for Knights is number 20 Tex Hoy

Match Officials

  • Referee: Gerard Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
  • Touch Judge: Todd Smith
  • Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein

Last updated:

Key match-up

James Tedesco v Kalyn Ponga: The Knights custodian will need to pass concussion protocols to be ruled fit for this contest against his State of Origin rival, having arguably outplayed NSW No.1 Tedesco in Queensland's Game III victory.

Tedesco has almost flown under the radar this season with Manly's Tom Trbojevic challenging his status as the game's premier fullback, but remains a crucial cog in attack and defence for the Roosters and a player capable of busting through a defensive line at any time.

The fleet-footed Ponga is an even more crucial player for the Knights, who have struggled badly without his attacking spark this season. 

Stat attack

Newcastle have defeated the Roosters just once in their past 10 meetings, a run stretching back to 2015. In that period the Tricolours outscored Newcastle 324 to 120 – an average margin of 32 points to 12 – with the Knights' lone victory a 38-12 win in 2019 in which Kalyn Ponga scored 18 points. 

 

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