Roosters v Knights preview - 2017 Round 20

Sydney Roosters v Newcastle Knights Friday 6:00pm at Allianz Stadium

Lop-sided contest looms as heavyweights host likely spooners.

The kitchen drawer at Knights headquarters is about to get crowded as the Knights trudge toa third consecutive wooden spoon, travel down to Sydney to face the second placed Roosters, firmly in position to return back to the finals. On paper it looks a lay down misere but thankfully league isn't player on paper (it would hurt) also grass makes it an even contest. 

Newcastle's results through the last month has been the story of their season - headed into halftime with the lead before being run down also throw in a thrashing against the Tigers and it isn't much to yell about. They have shown spirit in a majority of their contests which isn't a column on the ladder but it does show some signs of improvement as they continue the rebuild with some terrific young players, highlighted by the Saifiti brothers and Mitchell Barnett. Sprinkle this with some promising signings and there may been some optimism brewing in the Hunter.

For the Roosters - they are sitting pretty in 2nd but injuries have cruelled them in the recent month with two key absences in reliable fullback Michael Gordon and tackling machine, Jake Friend has cut their attacking threat. Their two recent victories against a lowlyRabbitohs side and a young Storm side bookend a thumping up on the coast against Cronulla makes this a much more crucial contest which is slightly mental to say for the team getting ready for September.

Last meeting: Round 7 2017 - Knights 6 Roosters 24

Who to watch: There is some added spice for Friday night's contest as former Rooster Shaun Kenny-Dowall released in acrimonious circumstances earlier this season has a point to prove. The definition of the rocks and diamonds player SKD can turn the contest for an ailing Knights team and get them over against his former side. 

It has been a tough month for Mitchell Pearce - the half has been at the center of the backlash after another series defeat by New South Wales. Safe back in club land and at home, his guidance around the field not to mention the kicking game would be enough for the Roosters to join the Storm at the top albeit briefly. 

The favourite: The Roosters are at very short odds to win this battle.

My tip: Well there is a clearer favourite here than David vs Goliath, with the home team Roosters ready to add to the woes of a Knights team that is looking for the final six weeks of the season to end quickly. Roosters by 12.

1. Connor Watson 5. Blake Ferguson 12. Mitchell Aubusson 3. Latrell Mitchell 2. Daniel Tupou 6. Luke Keary 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 17. Victor Radley 10. Dylan Napa 11. Ryan Matterson 16. Aidan Guerra 13. Isaac Liu 9. Mitchell Cornish 14. Kane Evans 15. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 18. Zane Tetevano

1. Nathan Ross 2. Chanel Mata'utia 3. Dane Gagai 4. Peter Mata'utia 5. Shaun Kenny-dowall 6. Brock Lamb 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Daniel Saifiti 14. Jamie Buhrer 10. Josh King 11. Sione Mata'utia 12. Joe Wardle 13. Mitchell Barnett 9. Danny Levi 15. Mickey Paea 16. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 17. Luke Yates

Referees: Gavin Reynolds, Chris James; Sideline Officials: Nick Beashel, Chris Treneman; Video Referees: Luke Patten, Jared Maxwell;

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