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These clubs head into the final round of the season following dramatically different results last week, with Canberra keeping their season alive while the Roosters suffered yet another serious injury in a heavy defeat.

The Raiders trailed 16-0 against the Warriors before a barnstorming finish earned them a 28-16 victory, keeping them in the race for a top-eight finish after an up-and-down season.

The Tricolours, meanwhile, were hammered 54-12 by arch-rivals South Sydney in a spiteful clash that saw former Rooster Latrell Mitchell sin-binned and later banned for six weeks for a shot that left Joey Manu with a fractured cheekbone.

Manu joins what was already a lengthy and star-studded injury list for the Roosters, who have defied the odds to remain among the top teams in 2021.

The rundown

Team news

Raiders: A late change on game day with centre Seb Kris dropping out and Semi Valemei coming into the side on the wing with Jordan Rapana shifting to centre. The other player to drop out an hour before kick-off was Sam Williams and Elijah Anderson is 18th man.

Joseph Tapine suffered a knee injury in round 24 but will play. The only change in the pack is Iosia Soliola coming in at lock and Ryan Sutton going to the bench.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad makes his first run-on start since returning from a neck injury, slotting into his favoured fullback position.

Trey Mooney was cut from the squad 24 hours before kick-off.

To play finals, the Raiders must beat the Roosters and rely on the Storm defeating the Sharks.

Roosters: In late changes an hour before kick-off Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is out of the side, Isaac Liu moves to prop and Egan Butcher is promoted from the bench to start at lock.

Naufahu Whyte has been added to the bench. Brad Abbey is 18th man.

Josh Morris (hamstring) and Matt Ikuvalu (ankle) have been part of team training for the past week and will play. Adam Keighran (head knock) returns after a week off.

Siosiua Taukeiaho (knee) was cleared of any serious damage from a Liam Knight tackle last week and should also be OK to take his spot in the side.

Moala Graham-Taufa and Daniel Suluka-Fifita were the first two players cut from the squad 24 hours before kick-off.

The Roosters have won five of their past seven games against the Raiders.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Raiders is number 1 Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
    Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James Tedesco
  • Winger for Raiders is number 2 Harley Smith-Shields
    Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
  • Centre for Raiders is number 4 Matthew Timoko
    Centre for Roosters is number 3 Josh Morris
  • Centre for Raiders is number 5 Jordan Rapana
    Centre for Roosters is number 4 Adam Keighran
  • Winger for Raiders is number 19 Semi Valemei
    Winger for Roosters is number 5 Matt Ikuvalu
  • Five-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack Wighton
    Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Drew Hutchison
  • Halfback for Raiders is number 7 Matt Frawley
    Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Lachlan Lam

Forwards

  • Prop for Raiders is number 8 Josh Papalii
    Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho
  • Hooker for Raiders is number 9 Josh Hodgson
    Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Sam Verrills
  • Prop for Raiders is number 10 Joseph Tapine
    Prop for Roosters is number 13 Isaac Liu
  • 2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Hudson Young
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Angus Crichton
  • 2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua
  • Lock for Raiders is number 13 Iosia Soliola
    Lock for Roosters is number 15 Egan Butcher

Interchange

  • Interchange for Raiders is number 14 Emre Guler
    Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Sam Walker
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 15 Ryan Sutton
    Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Ben Marschke
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 16 Corey Horsburgh
    Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Tuku Hau Tapuha
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 17 Siliva Havili
    Interchange for Roosters is number 26 Naufahu Whyte

Reserves

  • Reserve for Raiders is number 20 Elijah Anderson
    Reserve for Roosters is number 19 Brad Abbey

Match Officials

  • Referee: Gerard Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
  • Touch Judge: Todd Smith
  • Senior Review Official: Grant Atkins

Last updated:

Key match-up

Jack Wighton v Drew Hutchison: At the start of the season this would have appeared to be a complete mismatch; Wighton started the year as the reigning Dally M winner while Hutchison had never played more than five games in any of his four seasons in the NRL and was considered the fourth-best half at his club.

Yet a mid-season lull in form for Wighton coincided with some career-best performances from Hutchison, who has become the senior playmaker at the Roosters with Luke Keary injured. Wighton has stepped up in recent weeks as the Raiders got their campaign back on track, and containing him will be a key focus if the injury-ravaged Roosters are to get a win here.

Stat attack

Roosters winger Daniel Tupou set up an exciting final-round duel with Panthers flyer Brian To'o by surging to No.1 in both run metres and post-contact metres in the loss to Souths. To'o had appeared to have a stranglehold on the top spot in both categories before being sidelined by a serious syndesmosis injury but even then it took until the penultimate round for Tupou to run him down. 

 

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