2 days ago
Roosters v Wests Tigers preview - 2017 Round 24
High flying Roosters seek to avoid oncoming bus.
The Bondi-based side are last-start losers after succumbing to likely minor premiers Melbourne last week but will be fancying their chances to bounce back into the winners circle against a Wests Tigers side sitting near the foot of the ladder.
But the men "on the bus" at this point of the season for the Tigers aren't giving up easily. The black and gold have very much been a spanner in the works in recent weeks, pushing the Eels and Panthers in the battle for Western Sydney supremacy, as well as scoring an exciting last minute win over Manly last week.
For this reason it's a good idea the Roosters don't take their Saturday visitors lightly. Depending on what happens in the hours before kickoff, the Tigers may well once again be playing to avoid the ignominy of sitting in last place on the ladder. The news is better for the hosts though, with Michael Gordon back on the teamsheet after missing for several weeks due to a pectoral injury. The Wests Tigers aren't so lucky with Chris Lawrence omitted once again.
Last meeting: Round 14 2017 - Wests Tigers 18 Roosters 40
29 meetings between these clubs since the Wests Tigers merged in 2000, with the Roosters dominant 21 wins to 8 - including the last nine straight.
Who to watch: A bit of an injury crisis has meant that two players who've spent most of the season in the second row for the Roosters are now the side's centre pairing. Ryan Matterson and Mitch Aubusson are named in the backline again despite last week's loss and in spite of Gordon's return. Their ability to break the line is questionable compared to the back-up option available in Joey Manu, while Blake Ferguson sits on the wing.
With just three games left (at least we think so) for the Tigers, Aaron Woods' performances will be interesting to watch as the season winds down. With no silverware to play for and his future laying elsewhere, his ability to perform will no doubt come under the watchful eye of not only his own side's fans - but Canterbury supporters as well.
The favourite: No doubting the Roosters have the lions share of the backing here.
My tip: The Tigers are going to make this an absolute punish for their cross-town counterparts, but the Tricolours will be smarting after a last-gasp loss last week and will be keen to secure a home final as well - they'll get the choccies and continue their streak over the visitors here. Roosters by 6.
1. Michael Gordon 2. Latrell Mitchell 3. Ryan Matterson 4. Mitchell Aubusson 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Luke Keary 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Dylan Napa 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Aidan Guerra 13. Isaac Liu 14. Zane Tetevano 15. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 16. Kane Evans 17. Connor Watson 18. Joseph Manu 19. Victor Radley
1. James Tedesco 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Esan Marsters 4. Kevin Naiqama 5. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak 6. Tuimoala Lolohea 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods 9. Matt McIlwrick 10. Tim Grant 16. Michael Chee-Kam 12. Elijah Taylor 13. Matthew Eisenhuth 14. Alex Twal 15. Sauaso Sue 17. Jack Littlejohn 18. Josh Aloiai 19. Jj Felise 20. Joel Edwards
Referees: Henry Perenara, Chris James; Sideline Officials: Tim Roby, Russell Turner; Video Referees: Luke Patten, Steve Chiddy;