Pre Match
7:35pm Sat May 21, 2022
Round 11 - Sydney Cricket Ground, Moore Park

Round 11: Roosters v Panthers preview

Roosters look to strike against prowling Panthers

The Sydney Roosters look to build their credentials in season 2022 against the high-flying Penrith Panthers as they return to the Sydney Cricket Ground after a mid-year QLD road trip.

The Roosters' start to season 2022 has been marred by inconsistency. You take the good wins over North Queensland, Brisbane and Parramatta but substitute the losses against Newcastle, St George and Canterbury. That being said, it appears things are going right for the tri-colours as they approach the trickiest part of their season.

They're coming off a 31-24 win over Parramatta who defeated Penrith just a week prior. Their forward pack showed up with the right mindset and matched it with Parramatta's notably strong pack of forwards. The backs are finding their groove with Joesph Suaalii proving to be a dual-threat in the air with Daniel Tupou and with Penrith's wingers lacking height, Keary and Walker are licking their lips at a potential air-raid. Paul Momirovski had his best game of the season last week and will be looking to prove a point against his old club as he warms into the centre position.

Onto the team news, Radley's ankle injury sees Nat Butcher promoted to lock, and Siosiua Taukieaho remains at prop with Lindsay Collins returning from suspension via the bench. Sitili Tupouniua is in doubt having to pass concussion protocols, if he fails to pass the protocols expect either Egan Butcher or Naufahu Whyte to fill the void.

Penrith on the other hand has been consistently ruthless this season bar the hiccup against Parramatta. Their pack of forwards is consistent week in, week out and will look to crunch the Roosters through the forward exchanges. Penrith's back 5 has been consistently brilliant coming out of yardage this season, but face their toughest test with the Roosters' back 5 who pioneered the art of backs coming out of yardage.

Penrith slaughtered a depleted Storm side up in Magic Round. It would've been easy to be complacent, but Penrith showed true championship qualities. Jarome Luai arguably had his best game of the season with his kicking game placing Tyran Wishart and Marion Seve under all sorts of pressure. Isaah Yeo continues to stamp his claim for the NSW lock jumper, his ball-playing attribute continues to shine brightest with his ability to draw in defenders at the line. The Panthers are unchanged once again, the only thing in doubt for the premiers is whether Ivan Cleary will be on deck after being absent from the coaches' box over the past fortnight.

Last meeting: Round 21 2021 - Roosters 14 Panthers 20

Who to watch: Sydney's forward stock has taken a hit but they do get the services of Lindsay Collins back from suspension. Collins is an interesting commodity, in the finals series against Penrith two years ago his impact off the bench was able to help stem the tide from what would've been a finals blowout at the hands of the Panthers. He missed both games against Penrith last year due to injury and will be keen to stamp his claim for the vacant QLD prop jumper against a strong Panthers forward pack.

A bench player rarely is one to watch, but the form of Scott Sorensen is hard to ignore. A fortnight ago, his impact was missed as the Panthers pack was overrun by Parramatta. Against the Storm, Sorensen returned to his dynamic best running the ball 14 times for 124 meters as well as 25 tackles. The energy he brings to Penrith's middle makes Sorensen one to watch on Saturday night.

The favourite: Penrith is the warm favourite. Although, the tricolours pipped Penrith at the SCG in their last meeting there in 2019 and have a bad record at the SCG since 1967 winning only once and drawing once from 11 trips to the Cricket Ground.

My tip: Both sides are running into this one full of confidence after a big win at Magic Round. But the Roosters don't complete above 76% in three straight weeks, it just doesn't happen. I've watched too many seasons and see the same stuff over and over again. Penrith will suffocate the Roosters after half-time and capitalise on the opposition's errors, but it'll be a close game as the Roosters won't go away. Panthers by 8.