THE FRONT ROW: Grand Final programme
4 hours ago | LeagueUnlimited Media
Sydney rivals strive to stay in touch on the Central Coast
The Sydney Roosters and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs will be looking to make a statement after the bye when they meet for the first time on the Central Coast.
Coming into the middle third of the season out of form with two wins from their past seven matches, the Sydney Roosters will be hoping a dominant record against their long-standing foes continues on Sunday afternoon.
Winning 14 out of 18 clashes against the Bulldogs during Trent Robinson's tenure, the Roosters have been dealt a blow with Brandon Smith and Victor Radley unavailable through injury and suspension, while James Tedesco and Lindsay Collins will need to get through the opening State of Origin fixture unscathed to take their places in the final team.
Naming Jake Turpin at hooker and welcoming back Kiwi duo Joseph Manu and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, former Tigers outside back Junior Pauga will make his club debut in place of Jaxson Paulo.
Electing to move a home-and-away fixture that regularly drew upwards of 20,000 fans during the 2000s, the Roosters have won their past three matches on the Central Coast.
Boasting the worst points differential in the league yet only sitting two points outside the top eight, the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs will be looking to post back-to-back victories for only the second time this season
Winning seven of their ten visits to Industree Group Stadium historically, coach Cameron Ciraldo has included NSW duo Josh Addo-Carr and Tevita Pangai Jr on an extended bench with Blake Wilson and Ryan Sutton named to start at wing and front-row respectively.
Corey Waddell will make his 50th appearance for the club; the 26-year-old forward joined Canterbury-Bankstown two years ago after debuting in first grade with Manly.
Last meeting: Round 8 2022 - Bulldogs 16 Roosters 12
Who to watch: Set to wear the number nine jersey for the first time this season, Jake Turpin will be aiming to make the most of an extended run in the Roosters starting side. Coming in for Brandon Smith after the New Zealand representative suffered a thumb injury prior to the bye, the 26-year-old Queenslander has averaged 25 tackles in seven appearances split between the bench and hooker. Playing 60 games with Brisbane over the past five years before receiving a lifeline from the foundation club, the Roosters will be looking for Turpin to deliver steady service in order to get the job done.
Enjoying a new lease on life as an impact forward, Jayden Okunbor will be hoping to continue his try-scoring heroics on the Central Coast. Crossing for the match-clinching four-pointer in the side's most recent outing, the 26-year-old has flourished under the watch of Cameron Ciraldo after playing exclusively as a winger earlier in his career. Named to start in the second-row for the first time in his career, Okunbor has shown himself capable of breaking and making tackles in equal measure.
Favourite: Having dominated their opponents over the past decade, the Roosters are favoured to get the job done on ‘home' soil.
My tip: To evoke the words of late media tycoon and Hibs supporter Logan Roy, if the Roosters want to be thought of as serious figures in the premiership race they should expect nothing less than a win on Sunday afternoon. Roosters by 14.
1. James Tedesco 2. Corey Allan 3. Joseph Suaalii 4. Billy Smith 5. Junior Pauga 6. Joseph Manu 7. Luke Keary 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Turpin 10. Lindsay Collins 11. Egan Butcher 12. Nat Butcher 13. Sitili Tupouniua 15. Nathan Brown 16. Angus Crichton 17. Matthew Lodge 19. Sandon Smith 14. Drew Hutchison
1. Hayze Perham 5. Blake Wilson 3. Jake Averillo 4. Paul Alamoti 21. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Karl Oloapu 7. Matt Burton 8. Max King 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Ryan Sutton 11. Jayden Okunbor 12. Jacob Preston 23. Tevita Pangai Junior 13. Corey Waddell 15. Kurtis Morrin 17. Harrison Edwards 19. Khaled Rajab 14. Josh Reynolds
Referees: Ashley Klein; Sideline Officials: Drew Oultram, Damian Brady; Video Referees: Matt Noyen;